BEFORE the pandemic the Oxfordshire calendar was packed full of weird and wonderful events that set the county apart as a special place to live.

Many of the traditions, however, will only make sense to people who have lived here.

Here are five unique things that only people in Oxfordshire do, that outsiders think is bizarre...

1. Catching buns 

This quirky tradition is exclusive to Abingdon

Oxford Mail:

Ever since the 1761 coronation of King George III, Abingdon has marked major royal occasions by hurling thousands of buns off the roof of its County Hall to crowds in the Market Place opposite.

The council leaders hold a vote when a royal event is announced to decide if councillors in full ceremonial robes should throw around 4,000 currant buns at chanting crowds. 

Oxford Mail:

A bun throwing event was held in 2016 to celebrate the Queen's Birthday.

Buns were also launched in 2011 for the wedding of Prince William and Kate. 

2. Aunt Sally

Oxford Mail:

Aunt Sally is a popular game in Oxfordshire which involves throwing wooden sticks at a 'dolly' from 30 feet away.

The objective is simple - to knock a wooden skittle cleanly off the top of a post (the dolly) by throwing sticks at it. 

It is usually played in the spring and summer by competing pub teams and has a long history in the county.

However, not many people from outside of Oxfordshire have ever heard of it. 

3. May Morning 

Oxford Mail:

Thousands of people wake up at the crack of dawn on the first day in May to celebrate the coming of spring. 

Crowds of around 13,000 people fill up Oxford High Street and neighboring roads for the customary mix of singing, dancing and early morning drinking. 

Oxford Mail:

The event has been going on for hundreds of years with celebrations kick-starting at 6am and spilling over into the afternoon. 

Some pubs remain packed into the night. 

4. Chalking of the White Horse 

Oxford Mail:

Dozens of volunteers help re-chalk the White Horse to keep it a gleaming national landmark.

Unpaid workers are armed with a hammer and bucket of chalk when they are tasked with bashing the oldest chalk monument in the country.

The re-chalking of the 3,000-year-old horse dates back centuries, but was banned in 1857 after an estimated 30,000 visitors and travelers turned up at Uffington Hill, near Wantage, and authorities struggled to move many of them on.

These days, the National Trust, which looks after the hill, invites volunteers to help and provides equipment and instruction.

5. Beating of the bounds 

Oxford Mail:

This bizarre ancient custom dates back almost 600 years.

Every year, a vicar will lead a group of church wardens and locals around a parish boundary – which are marked by 29 stones hidden among busy Oxford city centre streets and shops.

He marks the stone by drawing a cross in chalk and prays over the protection of the city.

Then, with willow wands, the wardens beat the stones shouting, ‘mark, mark, mark!”

Any unusual Oxfordshire traditions that you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments. 


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