Hash House Harriers
written by Sphincter
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Hashing has its origins in the competitive cross-country paper chases such as those of the Thames Hare and Hounds Club in England founded in 1869. The course is set by a "hare" who leaves a biodegradable trail marked in flour, paper, and chalk for the pack of "hounds" a.k.a. "harriers" to follow. In 1938, Albert Gispert, a.k.a. "G" and a few of his friends started the original Hash House Harriers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, similar to the previous competitive paper chases with a few important changes. The object was to have a bit of exercise and some refreshment afterwards. A few of the original members played rugby and so were somewhat fit, others such as Albert Gispert were not so athletic; so the idea was to enjoy a noncompetitive experience together where slow and fast didn’t handicap each other. This was accomplished by the ingenious invention of the "check" a.k.a. "intersection", where the trail stops and the fast hounds must find the trail's continuation, therefore giving the slower hounds a chance to catch up. This guide is an introduction to the traditions of the Sasebo Hash House Harriers which are adopted mostly from the traditions of the Okinawa Hash House Harriers.
Chapter 1: Finding The True Trail
Section 1: Hare Marks
Only the hares are allowed to use the marks described in this section. The pack has its own marks described in section 3. If you are new to hashing, it is important that you study the hare marks first, since they will keep you from getting lost on the trail.
Section 2: Pack Shouting And Whistles
The pack uses whistles, shouting, and pack marks to communicate with each other and work as a team in pursuit of the hares. You should shout or blow your whistle whenever you see a hare mark to signal the rest of the pack what it is that you have found.
Section 3: Pack Marks
The pack carries chalk in order to mark trail for the benefit of those in the pack behind them. It is very important that nobody in the pack draws any of the marks described above in Section 1 which are reserved for the hares. Once you understand the following pack marks you should carry chalk and mark trail.
Section 4: Review Of Pack Marking For Intersections
Frame 1: The only marks are from the hare.
If you can understand this review, then you will have no trouble figuring out which way to go at intersections.
Chapter 2: Hash Traditions
Section 1: The Hash Start
The Hash Master as the master of ceremonies will make several standard announcements to the pack at the "Start" and "Finish" as we observe our Hash Traditions.
"Gather Round For Announcements": Once the pack has formed into a circle, the Hash Master announces upcoming events and any special information or instructions about today’s trail to the pack.
"Let's Meet Today's Hares": The Hash Master introduces today’s hares to the pack.
"Hares Away": The Hash Master releases the hares to start marking the trail and the members of the pack blow their whistles.
"Chalk Talk For First Through Fifth Time Hashers": The Religious Advisor explains the marks to new hashers.
"Gather Round For Hash Aerobics": The Song Meister leads the pack in singing the song Father Abraham.
"Let's Go": 12 minutes after hares away, the members of the pack will hear this announcement, blow their whistles, and start walking.
"Hounds Away": 15 minutes after hares away, the members of the pack will hear this announcement, blow their whistles, and start running.
Section 2: The Hash Trail
The Hash trail is meant to be interesting and fun. The hares take time to plan their trails through interesting terrain, so each hash is different, fun, and exciting. The location of the Finish is a closely guarded secret and is only found when the pack works together to follow the trail, a fun game for everyone. The Finish will generally be within a 15 minutes walk from the Start, otherwise the hares will provide for transportation back to the Start. The trail will usually take from 45 to 90 minutes for the pack to complete over a distance of 6 to 10 km. On a well planned trail it is not unusual for the pack of slow and fast hounds to stick together with the hare’s clever placement of loops and intersections to slow down the fast hounds which allows the slower hounds to keep pace.
Section 3: The Finish And Down Downs
"Gather Round For Down Downs": Once the pack has formed into a circle, the Hash Master starts the Down Downs, ceremonial recognition of the accomplishments of our harriers on today’s trail. We sing some important songs during the down downs which are included in Appendix A.
"And The Hares, And The Hairs...": The pack starts singing to bring the Hares into the circle to recognize them for setting a great (or not so great) trail with a Down Down.
"Bring Forth The Virgins": The virgins are brought into the circle to be introduced to the pack. The virgins are asked, each in turn, "What is your name, and who made you come?". After introductions are completed, the virgins do their first down down and their initiation into the Hash is now complete. The virgins are then instructed to bring a whistle to their next hash.
"Headbands": Headbands are awarded to those celebrating their 10th, 25th, 50th, 69th, 75th, 100th, 125th, 150th, 169th, 175th, 200th, etc. hashes and they of course do a down down.
"Super Hares": Those who have hared ten trails are awarded the esteemed title of Super Hare and they of course do a down down.
"Violations": Those who violate our sacred traditions are brought into the center of the circle and suffer through embarrassment and public ridicule by the pack, and they of course do a down down. If that hasher does not yet have a name, whoever brought them drinks with them for not properly instructing them in our traditions.
Caught Hares: If one of the hares gets caught, they all do a down down.
Trail Violations: If one of the hares marks or sets the trail improperly, or one of the hounds marks the trail with a hare only mark, they do a down down.
Abandoning Your Virgin On Trail: You are responsible for those you bring to the hash so teach them well. The first hash should always be a fun and rewarding experience for our virgins so they will come back. Do not abandon your virgins on trail, keep them with you, so you will have an opportunity to explain the trail markings.
New Shoes: A tradition borrowed from the idea of christening a new vessel with a bottle of champagne just before its launching into the open waters. We christen our new shoes.
Sitting On The Holy Down Down Cooler: We never sit on the holy down down cooler as it contains our holy water and sitting on it would be a desecration.
Use of Nerd Names: We always refer to our fellow hashers by their proper hash name, unless they have not been given one yet.
"Gather Round To Name Our Fifth Time Hashers": Those who have completed five hashes are invited to tell us a little something about what they do in real life. After their introductions are complete, they are sent away from the circle. Anyone who already has a hash name gathers into the naming circle where secret deliberations on what names to give take place. If for some reason someone is dissatisfied with their hash name they may request a name change.
"Other business": Those who wish to make an announcement has the opportunity at this time, perhaps they are hosting a party and the hash is invited or they need to wear long pants and gloves at the next hash they are haring, etc.
"Closing Announcements": The location of the On On and the schedule of upcoming hashes is announced.
"Give Me A Note, Hmmmmmmmm...": The pack sings the international hash song.
"Headband And Whistle Check": The pack blows their whistles to make sure they still work and we see that those who are supposed to have their headbands and whistles do. If there are any violators they of course do a down down.
"The Hash Is Ended, ...": The pack cleans up the trash in the down down area and proceeds back to the start to get their car and go to the On On if they wish.
Section 4: The On-On
Much like the original "Hash House", it is traditional that after the hash, the harriers will gather for some socializing at the On On. The hares plan an On-On at a local restaurant, their house, a picnic in the park, or somewhere usually within a 5 minute drive or walk from the start. The On On is a great chance to meet our fellow hashers and discuss the wonders of hashing.