March of the burry man rings in the new session

20th August 1999 at 01:00
(Photograph) - THE community spirit is alive and well in South Queensferry where children took part last weekend in the traditional Ferry Fair. Their role is to ring a bell signalling the arrival of the burry man - and to collect money for charity in the bygoing.

The burry man parades around town covered in sticky burrs from the burdock plant.

This year the honour fell to John Nicol, a student at Glasgow College of Art. The origins of the tradition are lost in the mists of antiquity. Some say he symbolises the scapegoat, an animal on which were heaped the sins of the community and which finally suffered the ultimate penalty.

South Queensferry is not the only town to have had a burry man. Other fishing communities, especially in the north-east, also celebrated the festival as a way of purging ill fortune.

. Photograph by Gerry McCann

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