The Allendale Tar Barrel Festival
Villagers called “guisers” carry burning whisky barrels and torches as they take part in the Allendale Tar Barrel festival in Allendale, England. An annual event since the dark ages, locals dress up in a variety of costumes, before carrying whisky barrels containing burning tar on their heads around the village then using them to light a giant bonfire in the village square. The tradition of the burning whisky barrels dates back to 1858. It appears to have originated with bands that were caroling at New Year. They were unable to use candles to light their music due to the strong winds, so someone suggested a tar barrel be used. Having to move from place to place, it would have been easiest to carry the barrels upon the “guisers” heads, rather than rolling them. The festival is intended to be a farewell to the previous year and is, in part, based on pagan rituals. It goes without saying that throughout the night there is quite a bit of whisky consumed by both participants and onlookers. Proof-positive that pagans really do know how to party.