Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Women go flipping crazy for world’s oldest pancake race
世界最悠久的鬆餅賽 英國女士瘋狂豁出去

A screengrab shows competitors on the starting line in the village of Olney, Buckinghamshire ahead of the annual pancake race on Tuesday.
這張週二從電視螢幕截取的照片,是參賽女士們在白金漢郡的奧爾尼村莊舉辦的鬆餅賽前,在起跑點線上蓄勢待發。

Photo: AFP 照片:法新社

Aprons on and frying pans in hand, the womenfolk of Olney charged through the English town’s picturesque streets on Tuesday in the world’s oldest pancake race.

The quirky tradition in Britain dates back to 1445, when legend has it a stressed-out Olney housewife heard the Shrove Tuesday church bells and stormed through the streets, still cooking her pancakes, arriving just in time for the service.

In the Christian calendar, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, is the feast before the fast of Lent, celebrated in Britain as Pancake Day.

Five and a half centuries on, the custom endures in the quaint market town in Buckinghamshire, southeast England — home of the pancake race.

In crisp spring sunshine, the women of the town lined up in the marketplace at exactly 11:55am, frying pans in hand, aprons and headscarves on — and 379m of sheer exertion and pancake balancing ahead of them.

The 16 runners ranged in age from 29 to 61-year-old Deirdre Bethune.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” the pancake racing veteran said. “This is worse than running the London Marathon because this is a sprint.”

The mayor of Olney, Michael Hughes, said the historic race was the highlight of the year, bringing thousands of people into the town and putting it on the map.

“It makes us a little world-renowned place for a moment or two,” he told AFP.

“I can’t see this tradition ever finishing. I will speak for the whole town on this — we love it.”

With the ring of a bell and a toss of the pancake, the race got under way and less than a minute and a half later, childcare worker Nicky Sallis had negotiated the winding streets to cross the finish line first.

“I was just telling my legs to keep going. I feel all right now, it’s just my chest and lungs,” the 37-year-old said as she got her breath back.

Her reward? A few hundred pounds (NT$10,000 to NT$15,000), a clutch of prizes, a place in history and the traditional kiss from the verger of St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Ken Noon.

“Somebody has to do it,” the sprightly churchman joked. “We spend all year doing our duties and then we get the perk!”

(AFP)

穿圍裙、拿煎鍋,奧爾尼女士們週二為慶祝世界最悠久的鬆餅節,在英國優美小鎮街道上火力全開、衝鋒陷陣。

這個不同凡響的英國傳統可追溯到一四四五年,傳說中歐爾尼一名焦慮的家庭主婦因聽到「懺悔星期二」教堂鐘響,手拿著仍煎著鬆餅的煎鍋,奪門而出,及時趕到教堂懺悔。

在基督教的月曆上,「懺悔星期二」也稱為(大齋前一天的)「狂歡節」,是「大齋節」前的宗教節日,這天在英國以「鬆餅節」模式慶祝。

五個半世紀以來,這項傳統在英國南部白金漢郡古色古香的市集小鎮─鬆餅賽的發源地─歷久彌新。

在涼爽的春光下,小鎮女士們手拿煎鍋、身穿圍裙、戴上頭巾,在上午十一點五十五分準時在市集上一字排開,準備一邊跑完三百七十九公尺的路程,一邊保持面前鬆餅的平衡(以防掉落)。

十六名參賽者中,從二十九歲的年輕少婦到六十一歲的迪爾德利‧貝修恩都有。

這名參賽老將表示:「這好緊張,比倫敦馬拉松還難,因為這是短距離賽跑。」

奧爾尼鎮長麥可‧修說這項歷史上著名的賽事是一年的焦點,吸引上千民眾來到這個鎮上並讓此鎮出名。

他告訴法新社說:「這(項賽事)讓我們在一些時候成為世界著名的地點。」

他說:「我不認為這項傳統會有喊停的一天。我將為這整個城鎮在這件(賽)事上代言─我們熱愛它。」

在鈴響及鬆餅拋出後,比賽展開,不到一分半鐘,擔任保母的妮琪‧莎莉絲通過蜿蜒街道,率先抵達終點。

現年三十七歲的莎莉絲喘過氣後說:「我當時告訴我的雙腿要不斷向前行。我現在感覺還算可以,只不過我的胸口與肺部(還在恢復中)。」

她的獎項?幾百英鎊(約新台幣一萬元至一萬五千元)、一堆獎品、歷史留名並且還有聖彼得教堂與聖保羅教堂司事肯‧努恩例行的一吻。

這位精神抖擻的教士開玩笑說,「一定有人要做這件事。我們花整年堅守我們的職責,然後我們得到這個額外的待遇!」

(法新社/翻譯:林亞蒂)

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