Honiton's Hot Pennies ceremony cause a stir across the globe thanks to Reddit post

PUBLISHED: 16:24 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:40 21 January 2019

Honiton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8605. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8605. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

It’s an annual tradition in Honiton, dating back to the 13th century.

Honiton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8619. Picture: Terry IfeHoniton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8619. Picture: Terry Ife

However, the town’s hugely popular Hot Pennies ceremony has now captured the imagination of tens of thousands across the world after being posted to popular social news and discussion website Reddit, the self-proclaimed ‘front page’ of the internet.

Almost 40,000 site users, known as Redditors, have liked a post on the sub-Reddit called r/todayilearned centred on Honiton’s Hot Pennies tradition.

The r/todayilearned sub encourages Redditors to post unusual facts and anecdotes, which can then be discussed.

The Honiton-based post reads: “TIL [today I learned] that the town of Honiton, U.K, has a “Hot Penny Day”, a parade where children collect thrown coins. The tradition was purportedly started by wealthy people, whom [sic] would hear pennies on a stove, throw them into the streets, and laugh at peasants burning their fingers while picking them up.”

Honiton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8617. Picture: Terry IfeHoniton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8617. Picture: Terry Ife

So far, the post has more than 36,000 likes and 1,000 comments.

Here are some of the top comments:

“And they wonder why Hollywood villains always have upper class English accents!”

Honiton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8612. Picture: Terry IfeHoniton hot pennies. Ref mhh 30 18TI 8612. Picture: Terry Ife

“This reminds me of college – someone used to superglue change to the sidewalk near my apartment. I imagine they were hiding in the bushes watching all the broke undergrads struggle to pull coins off the cement.”

“This kind of behaviour isn’t limited to just upper class English. In the biography of Teddy Roosevelt, there’s an excerpt from his boyhood journal describing how his family travelled to Italy during a time of famine and they fed starving peasants from the backs of wagons like they would feed the ducks back home. So they were tearing up pieces of stale bread and throwing them into a crowd of starving people. They hired other men with horse whips to stand next to the wagon and drive back the crowd when they got too agitated.”

Honiton Hot Pennies Ceremony dates back to the 13th century, when Honiton was granted a Royal Charter.

The ceremony has remained unbroken for several hundred years, and to this day has always taken place on the first Tuesday after July 19.

Nowadays the pennies are merely warm.

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