This game, now nearly 700 years old, is held on the 6th of January* each year. Thousands gather in the early afternoon to see the “Fool Smoked” , hear his speech and to watch or partake in the game.
The group then moves to a nearby field where the game is to be played.
The games start with the Children’s Hood Games where, over a period of time, 12 soft canvas hoods are throw into the crowd.
The enjoyment this gives the kids is written over their smiles and heard in their laughter. The adults cheer them on laughing and whooping. Yes it’s violent but there is no anger.
Each throw in of the canvas Hood is performed by the Lord of the game or other notables as well as the Boggins (Marshalls). These children’s games are supervised by one of the fitter and faster amongst the group of Boggins. The kids are a bit quick.
This year I didn’t stop for the adult games so I’ve include a shot from years past.
Notable this year is the appearance of a new “Fool”, the last one having retired last year after 25 years in the role – though he was here, in the thick of it.
You can read all about the tradition and the game itself here on Wikipedia
Note on above…
* the exceptions being when that falls on a Sunday. In those years the Hood is played on the Saturday before.