Interesting about chimney sweeps
Chimney Sweeps’ Day is celebrated annually on May 1 in the UK. There is a grand colorful show, like a carnival, in Rochester, Kent. People smeared with soot are marching through the city, and then arrange a variety of games, contests, or acrobatic shows.
Why does this festival take place in Rochester? After all, this profession was not only very popular, but also demanded all over Europe. It turned out that four hundred years prior to 1900 a professional chimney sweeps holiday with a concert and a festive parade was held in this city. Chimney sweeps across England not only met the spring, but also celebrated their only day off. Over time, this cheerful holiday was forgotten.
Local businessman Gordon Newton was interested in history of his native land and revived the festival. Since 1981 the businessman spent his own money on the festivals. And then the city authorities took care of all the expenses because they saw that the festival attracted a lot of tourists from all over Europe. And now on May days Rochester turns into a fairy-tale city.
Who you are, Mr. Chimney Sweep? In medieval Europe, the chimney sweep was a special person, not just covered with soot, but the darkness of secrecy. Probably, he was the most mysterious man in the city after the court magician. Why does an ordinary worker wear a cylinder? It’s a mystery! According to popular rumor, in medieval Europe, the aristocrats and wealthy people gave their children to the chimney sweeps. Their children had to live a life of a simple working man, and then became worthy rulers of the country or business successors.
To tell the truth, the cylinder played a purely practical role. Firstly, in the Middle Ages there were no helmets and it saved the head from falling stones and bricks. Secondly, while on the roof, the chimney sweep put small tools into the cylinder, which was also very convenient.
Lithuanian-born Gudmand Olsen was the first chimney sweep. The first cleaned chimney was in Copenhagen, in the castle of King Christian IV. Gudmand cleaned it in 1639. Since then, the profession had become perhaps the most important in the medieval Europe, which suffered from chronically fires. In 1731, Andreas Nieshke was appointed the first professional, master chimney sweep of the Kingdom of Denmark. In Russia, the first professional chimney sweeps appeared only in the XVIII century.
Some people believe that chimney sweep brings happiness. In Europe he considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. When you meet a chimney sweep in the street touch him and you will be in luck. In the UK, there is still another interesting tradition – to invite the chimney sweep at a wedding.
Now in England there are about 500-600 chimney sweeps, who work in areas where there are still old houses with fireplaces and stoves.