Hashing, as we know it today, began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of restive British company men started a hare & hounds running group. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, aka the "Hash House." Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British public school paper chase. A "hare" would be given a short head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, soon to be pursued by a shouting pack of "harriers." Only the hare knew where he was going . . . the harriers followed his marks to stay on trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing down the wily hare, solving the hare's marks and reaching the end was its own reward, for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.
Hashing died during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously opposed to civilian fun), but came back to life in the post-war years, spreading slowly through Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand, then exploding in popularity in the late 70s and early 80s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, complete with newsletters, directories, and regional and world hashing conventions.
Despite its growth, hashing hasn't strayed far from its British and Malaysian roots. A typical hash "kennel" is a loosely-organized group of 20-40 men and women who meet weekly or biweekly to chase the hare. We follow chalk, flour, or paper, and the trails are never boring. When forced to, we'll run the occasional street or alley, but in general we prefer shiggy . . . fields, forests, jungles, swamps, streams, fences, storm drains, and cliffs. And although some of today's health-conscious hashers may shun a cold beer in favor of water or a diet soda, trail's end is still a party. Perhaps that's why they call us the "drinking club with a running problem!"
The Algarve branch of the Hash House Harriers was founded in Almancil in January 1984, by the late Basket Case, when on moving to the Algarve, he soon realised that some men were drinking fewer than 12 beers per day, on average. He obviously had to do something drastic in order to correct this. Success came early, the average number of beers consumed per man at the Hash soon surpassed 12. Added to what this disparate group of expats and local alcoholics drank at breakfast, lunch and all points between meant that the Hash truly was a drinking club, and almost 2000 runs later this "Tradition" continues to this day.
Each week a member elects to be the "Hare", or is bullied into it by the Hare Raiser. The Hare lays out a secret trail marked by chalk or flour with devious false trails and various pitfalls. After being yelled at to come to order, the group is given some general pointers about the trail and then sent on it's way. Half way through the trail, if you make it, will be a Beer Stop, where more beer and snacks are consumed. For those who make it to the end of the trail, the fun begins with a call to order and the Hash Circle is formed. The cruel GM (Grand Mattress) will begin calling out members for various infractions observed during the hash who are then required to drink shots of beer called down-downs. Singing and various accusations accompany the circle at any given time. When the circle is closed, the hash is officially at an end and then the Hare divvies up some loaves and fishes, all washed down with Beer and Good Humour.
RULES OF THE HASH
There are no rules!
However, several hundred various things are frowned on and will entitle you to a Down Down ie. drinking a Beer down in one. There are too many to mention, but here are a couple examples of infractions:
These lessons and more you will learn as you continue to Hash. NB. Never ask for Ice in your drink, you don't know where it has been!
And one day, if you have not yet been maimed or poisoned by our food or fallen off a cliff or have come to your senses and left the group, and if you have the fortitude to host a hash for the first time, we will christen you with your very own profane hash name and you will be in the hash fraternity forever. Your other reward is having beer and flour poured over your head while being anointed. What more could you ask for in life?