7th November, 2016

Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrels 2016

This was my second trip to the Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrels festival.

If you aren’t familiar with the Tar Barrels, it’s an annual event that occurs on the 5th November. Here’s a good description of the night from TarBarrels.co.uk:

“The Tar Barrel tradition is hundreds of years old. The exact origins are unknown but probably started after the gunpowder plot of 1605.  Various alternative reasons suggested for burning barrels have included fumigation of cottages and as a warning of the approach of the Spanish armada.

The West Country has a history of torchlight processions and burning barrels and Ottery was only one of the many towns and villages following an annual tradition containing barrels which were rolled in the streets on November 5th each year. Somewhere along the line someone decided rolling was tame and carrying barrels on your shoulders was far more appealing and so the present tradition was born and now Ottery is the only town in the country carrying full sized lighted tar barrels through the streets.”

Here’s a few snaps and a video of the barrels, the bonfire and and festivities.


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