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Britain celebrates Queen’s 90th birthday by throwing buns

London, June 12: The townsfolk of what is reputed to be Britain’s oldest town gathered in their market square on Saturday to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth. The small market town of 33,000 people, almost 100 km along the River Thames from central London, have found their own way of celebrating royal and major events, Xinhua reported. From the roof of the county hall the Mayor of Abingdon-on-Thames, Alice Badcock hurled the first of 4,500 currant buns into crowd below. It attracted townsfolk of all ages from very young to old.

Just as their ancestors gathered in 1761 to throw buns to mark the corotion of King George III, what is one of the quirkiest traditions in the country continues to this day. Catching one of the buns, designed with a crown on the top, is one of the aims for the thousands gathered in the market square. Bun throwing is a centuries old tradition unique to Abingdon and can only take place when the town council votes to hold one to mark a royal occasion. The council organises the bun-throwings which are held as a gesture of loyalty and goodwill to the morch.

Usually it is for events marked to royal celebrations, but that tradition changed in 1856 when buns were thrown to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. The last bun throwing ceremony was in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to celebrate her 60 years on the throne. A year earlier buns were thrown to celebrate the marriage of the Queen’s grandson, Prince William to Princess Catherine Middleton.

Roads in the town centre closed ahead of Saturday’s ceremony with Abingdon Town Band and the Abingdon Traditiol Morris Dancers both performing ahead of a procession led by Mayor Badcock to the town hall. Following the singing of the tiol Anthem the mayor threw the first bun. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita