What the Heck is Rhubarb Thrashing?
I am endlessly scrolling through social media. Not to brag, but I spend hours looking through Facebook, TikTok, and Youtube every week. Because of the amount of time I spend scrolling, it should not be a surprise that I frequently stumble across some strange videos.
That being said, the Facebook Reels video that was recently shared by the BBC is probably the strangest I have ever seen.
As part of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s deep dive into their archives, they have been posting clips of shows that the network ran decades ago. Some of these videos date back to the 1960s and 1970s.
In the clip I am talking about, which is from an episode of Blue Peter dating back to 1969, the hosts explain the game of rhubarb thrashing.
The object of the game, which has been played on English farms for centuries, is to hit your opponent with a stalk of rhubarb.
The blindfolded players, who also wear crumpets over their ears, stand in barrels and hold hands. In their free hand, each player has a lengthy stalk of rhubarb, and each take turns whacking at each other with it. Each hit to the head counts as a point.
In order to give them a chance at finding their target, the defender has to say the word “people” before the attacker strikes. In theory, if the attacker has good hearing, it will give them a chance to find their target.
This video does a much better job explaining the game:
When I first stumbled across the video, I was sure that it was a Monty Python skit. Nope! It is a real thing.
According to a 1999 article in The Guardian, the game is still popular in many parts of Britain. Well, it was popular back when the article was published. As far as we can tell, the game never became popular in the United States.
Do you think rhubarb thrashing could end up being the official sport of Maine?
Most common jobs 150 years ago in Maine
Gallery Credit: Stacker