Anthropology History

Roland the Farter: Humour Never Changes

Professional farters have existed for a long time. In the 12th century, a man named Roland the Farter paid for his land by performing a jump, a whistle, and a fart for the king on Christmas Day. Why was a fart enough to pay rent, and what’s so funny about farting anyway?Continue readingRoland the Farter: Humour Never Changes

Anthropology Folklore History

The Norse Cat Who Eats Poor People at Christmas

Did everyone get socks this Christmas? If not, you may be overdue for a visit from the Yule Cat. The Icelandic Yule Cat brings an element of terror to the festive season by eating people who didn’t receive a present of new clothes and teaching us the folklore of wild cats and powerful women.Continue readingThe Norse Cat Who Eats Poor People at Christmas

Folklore History

May Morning in Oxford

Over a hundred years ago, Alden’s Oxford Guide described “a curious ceremony annually observed at Magdalen College”. On the 1st of May, the choir ascends Magdalen Tower to sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus as the sun rises. Beneath the tower, people gather to to celebrate the arrival of spring.Continue readingMay Morning in Oxford


Christmas Crappers and the New Year Nose Man

The festive season in Catalonia, an area in Northeastern Spain, is characterised by several colourful characters. Two have became quite well-known because of their scatological humour, the Caganer and the Caga Tió, but there’s a third who I think is just as interesting.Continue readingChristmas Crappers and the New Year Nose Man