Say cheese. Eat cheese. And if you're really keen about ''milk's leap to immortality'', chase cheese too! Come the last Monday in May, and Cooper's Hill, in Gloucestershire, England, comes into its own- in a big way: it attracts thousands of cheese-lovers from all across the UK and abroad, all intent on participating in the annual Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake. The festival's been around for a long, long time, and some say it originated in Roman fertility rites (although one wonders what connection there could be between chasing cheese and praying for fertility!).
What happens at the Cheese Rolling Festival is simple enough: at noon on the appointed day, a large, mellow, 7-lb wheel of ripe Gloucestershire cheese is rolled downhill and chased by eager participants, who push and shove in an attempt to be the first to reach the bottom of the hill. It's a rough track down, and injuries- most of them minor, fortunately- are not uncommon. In all, four downhill races (one for ladies) are run, with the winner in each race getting to take home the cheese. Runners-up get cash prizes, and uphill chases- which include a boys' race, a girls' race and an open race- come with a first prize of a small cheese. A 'scramble for sweets' is also organised for children, with sweets being scattered across the hill for the kids to run around and gather.
No entry rules apply for the Cheese Rolling; all you have to do to participate is be there at the top of the hill at mid-day on the appointed day. After that, it's downhill all the way- and hopefully, by the end of it, you'll be a really big wheel!