These are the top 20 UK traditional events – that many adults have never heard of

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Millions of adults admit they haven’t heard of many of the traditional events taking place across the UK – including burning a wicker man, wife carrying races and bog snorkelling.

Research of 2,000 adults revealed 27 per cent had not come across the annual cheese rolling competition held in in Brockworth, Gloucestershire.

While worm charming was seen as the oddest traditional championships on the British isles.

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And although 74 per cent were familiar with dancing around the maypole, 43 per cent had no idea why anyone would do this.

The research was commissioned by National Geographic ahead of the launch of season five of Europe From Above, a documentary series that highlights some of the unique offerings of Great Britain from the skies in its first episode airing on Sunday 11th June at 8pm.

Kirk Watson, an aerial filmmaker who shot footage for the series using drones, said: “The research has been a great way to celebrate some of the weird and wonderful traditions that are unique to the UK.

“There’s certainly a rich cultural offering here which dates back hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years.

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“Some of these are iconic and known across the country, while others may be heard of for the first time by many as a result of this research.”

The study also found 35 per cent of adults have got involved in the classic British tradition of flipping pancakes, while a quarter have even taken part in the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

But 81 per cent believe such customs are the types of things that make the UK unique, with 71 per cent enjoying learning more about them.

And 92 per cent believe it’s important to keep these age-old traditions alive, as 58 per cent worried about them dying out.

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Embracing culture

A reminder of history, celebrations of local or national culture and enabling people to come together are the top reasons respondents believe it to be so crucial.

While 90 per cent see them as contributing to the cultural identity of the country, with 55 per cent seeing themselves as traditionalists.

Such traditions make respondents feel happy and proud, although 41 per cent are also left amused by them.

It also emerged 63 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, believe social media platforms such as TikTok could have a part to play in generating interest among younger generations.

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National Geographic’s Europe From Above will show a series of aerial journeys, displaying the traditions, innovations and engineering breakthroughs that continue to shape these nations.

Kirk Watson added: “The first episode of the latest series gives a unique perspective on some of the unknown wonders of the Islands of Great Britain.

“Using state-of-the-art cameras attached to drones we captured a picturesque beach airport, an oil rig recycling operation, and a dramatic Viking fire festival.

“And taking a look from the skies gives a fresh view of the country and some of its traditions and operations. 

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“The research has shown respondents are passionate about celebrating the country and its customs so hopefully the opening episode of the new series goes some way to educating people further on the wonders of the Great Britain and its unique islands.”

Top 20 UK traditional events adults have never heard of

  1. Hurling the silver ball
  2. Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival
  3. ack in the green
  4. Weighing in the Mayor
  5. The Lymm Duck Race
  6. Tar barrel racing
  7. Nettle eating contest
  8. Up Helly Aa
  9. Worm charming
  10. Stone skimming championships
  11. Wife carrying race
  12. Bog snorkelling
  13. Annual gurning competition
  14. Burning a wicker man
  15. Conker championships
  16. Summer solstice at Stonehenge
  17. Pancake flipping
  18. Cheese rolling
  19. Dancing around the Maypole
  20. Morris dancing
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