13 August 2011

burry man 1: dressing

The Burry Man is a South Queensferry Tradition, as one onlooker, Scott Liddell said, "It's not a Scotland thing, it's not an Edinburgh thing. It's a South Queensferry thing." The tradition has not always been annual but literature on the event says that people can trace the event back almost 900 years. No one quite knows what it means but that it definitely says something about the town's relationship with the countryside. John Nicol, who grew up in South Queensferry and now lives in Leith working as a graphic designer, has been the Burry Man since 1999, and this year was his last. Being he Burry Man is a physically demanding job. Family and friends dress the Burry Man up in over 11,000 burrs from the fields surrounding South Queensferry; and two of his close friends parade him around town with young boys ringing a bell shouting "Hip Hip Hooray! It's the Burry Man today!", through neighborhoods with people standing outside to greet him or pose for pictures, others waiting with a dram of whisky for him and his friends. They start dressing him around 7am, and he is covered in burrs until after 6pm.

Here are some images from the dressing:

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