This is a video impression of how the start of Lent is celebrated at Ashbourne, Derbyshire in the U.K..
Its exact meaning is lost in the mists of time- but it can be compared to Mardi Gras...only without all the singing and dancing... .
There are a few rules. These are mainly concerned with what properties the players cannot enter ( such as graveyards, churches and private houses. Also, players cannot use ANY form of artificial transport to convey the ball to either of the goals, which are about two miles apart....in other words, everything is done on foot!
It is believed that games such as this one Ashbourne, along with another at Haxey in North Lincolnshire are the modern game of Rugby Football's antecedents.
The description of the game played at Rugby Public School to be found in the novel " Tom Browns School-days " is a fair description of the game at Ashbourne.
There is one more rule and that is that homicide is not permitted...anything else goes...and usually does!
In the game shown on this video there were a couple of players with broken arms, another with a leg broken and one suspected heart attack!
All of this in the first half hour of the game's start!
All good clean fun with no malice involved.
By the way, the game lasts for two days!
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