If you’ve only ever known a hash tag as a key term on the Internet, you’ll have to rethink it in Grenada. Because here, every Saturday is hash day. With style and understatement, a popular scavenger hunt-style race takes place somewhere on the island, where you can win nothing but experience a lot. It goes through swamps, streams and spice groves, over beaches and through remote settlements. How hard it will be is not known beforehand. Only that it starts at 3 p.m. sometime.
Drinkers with a Running Problem
Hash clubs originated in the British colonies about 80 years ago, where their members sought to neutralize the past week’s binge drinking by getting a little exercise. This Saturday we are witnessing an anniversary in Grenada. The 1,111 run is organized. Although it’s a liquor number, once again it’s all about beer – because the cult drink marks every hash around the world. Before and especially after the sweaty round, large quantities are consumed and kept well chilled. The Beermeister is responsible for this – one of the most important offices of the honorary organization.
The good mood shows how grateful the participants are to the organizers. Every Saturday a new route is found, marked out and provided with ambiguous signs. At the starting and finishing points, parking spaces, toilets, a public address system and, of course, the drinks stand are set up. Only shortly before the start, the meeting point is indicated on the Internet and no one is surprised that hundreds of runners and hikers arrive at the starting point every Saturday at 3 pm. Many know each other and welcome even the newcomers with infectious good humor.
In the short speech(chalk talk) before the run, the marker signs are explained. After all, everyone should know how to recognize the right way, a dead end or even a spot with several options. If the tracks are well laid by the Hares (hares), the fastest ones get lost and, until they find the right path, give a chance to the pursuers who stay on the right track without detour.
The organizing team is officially called Mismanagement
The basic rules of the hash apply worldwide and are handed down in English. They are the epitome of understatement. The distribution of tasks may be strictly regulated. But it doesn’t matter how it is implemented. After all, the point of any event is for participants to have fun and for organizers to have as little work as possible.
Mismanagement (the traditional name of any team organizing hash events) is hierarchically structured. But even the name suggests a minimal organization with a wide scope for interpretation. Original personalities are highly appreciated. Therefore, it is not surprising that during the event the so-called Religious Advisor has the most important mismanagement role. Since unforeseen events always occur, improvisational talent and persuasiveness are required above all. Every sermon basically culminates in the fact that everything that doesn’t seem to be working is actually part of an even bigger plan. Almost like St. Francis, the Religious Advisor is even understood by animals that have to share their habitat with the hashers.
The jargon of the hash is international
“On-on” is not only the most heard word this Saturday, it also appears in the foot-shaped hash logo. “On-on” is what everyone says when they’re on the right track. It’s the positive response option to the question, “are-you?”. “On-back”, on the other hand, answers the one who comes back from a dead end, and “on-lost” means absolutely lost.
Participation, however, is not difficult even for the inexperienced. No mistake is made by those who keep an eye on the other hashers and join the majority.
Experience Grenada’s land and people on foot
As diverse as Grenada’s landscape is, you won’t find pastureland here. Accordingly, cows and sheep are a rarity. The island also has to import dairy products. But the participants of the Hash Event even get to see one of the few cows. Dogs, chickens and goats, on the other hand, are quite common.
Finishing with a beer
After about two hours, even the last one has completed the 8 kilometer loop and can enjoy the elixir of life of all hash enthusiasts. Virgins (those who participated for the first time) are additionally baptized with a hearty beer shower.
Website of the Grenada Hash House Harriers
Insider tip: Church service with gospel sound
Grenada’s predominantly Christian population attends church on Sundays in one of the many religious communities. A visit to a church reveals a lot about the mentality of the population. In the Grand Anse Baptist church, we immediately felt warmly welcomed as strangers.
Even the religious conversation before the service, moderated by congregation members, and especially the enthusiastic gospel singing during the service leave a lasting impression. The song lyrics are on large monitors and everyone can sing along karaoke-style.
Even cruise passengers can be recommended these two typical events, should they ever sail to Grenada on a weekend. However, on Sundays you should definitely reserve a table for lunch. Because in the restaurant we met many people again with whom we had just sung together.
Wall calendar with photos by Georg Berg available in bookstores (also online) in different sizes: Fruits of the Caribbean / also in English Fruits of Grenada or French Fruits des Caraïbes as well as family planner (*)
The research trip was supported by the Grenada Tourist Board
(*) This post contains advertising links (also called affiliate or commission links) that lead to Amazon.de.