All over the world, people hold celebrations to welcome in the New Year. Some of the most crazy are to be found here in good old Britain. Many feature fire prominently as a sign of welcoming back the sun and looking forward to the Spring and Summer and are a relic of our folklore.
One such ritual is the Tar Bar'ls of Allendale in Northumberland. As midnight approaches, 45 folk from the town parade around the streets in fancy dress. Nothing unusual there, you might think - except they carry this on their heads.
Yup, half barrels of flaming pitch are carried aloft, all around the market square in a big parade. The marchers end up by a huge bonfire in the middle then one by one, they hurl the barrels onto the mound of wood. Needless to say, the fire instantly leaps into life - no firelighters needed here!!
It's so exciting to watch, really gets the adrenalin flowing - it's a direct link back to our pre-Christian past. Very like Up Helly A in the Shetland Islands, linking back to the Vikings.
I'd love to see the Temporary Event License application form, especially the Risk Assessment - LOL!!!
Wishing you all the very best for a happy, healthy and exciting 2012,