What is a Hash?
A trail is laid by one or two of the Hashers (the Hare/s). The trail is marked with chalk arrows, flour marks, shredded paper, pieces of toilet paper, or other material in the hands of the hares depending on the terrain and/or the hare. The trail can be pre-laid the day before or begun just a few minutes ahead of the pack setting out (this is called a live hare run). At a given signal the Harriers, Harriettes, hounds or pack, set off in pursuit of the trail. The idea is that the pack stays somewhat together and this is achieved by setting false trails, back checks and sneaky loops. The fitter front runners will often do twice as much running as the more slothful members but will often finish the run at the same time as the rest of the pack. The length and difficulty of the run depends on the hare and the terrain but will typically be between 3 and 5 miles or about 45 minutes to an hour running with checks, false trails and shortcutting, also known as "Zen"ing.
When the run is over the Harriers gather together to drink beer and observe their religious ceremonies which consist of drinking more beer, this time ritualistically. Down downs are awarded for misdemeanors real, imagined or blatantly made up and the recipients will most likely have been dobbed in by their fellow Hashers. Visitors are always given a Visitors Down-Down as are "Virgins" (first time Hash runners) and anyone else who comes to the attention of the committee. The ceremonies can last a couple of minutes or half the night depending on the level of religious fervor of the hash. With the changing times, drinking has lost some of its importance and clubs cater for non drinkers and those stupid enough to think that Hashing can improve their health.
The On After
Most Hashes suspend the religious activities for while to consume the food that the hare has provided. This is called "makan", "hash mash" or "nosh" and the quality varies from five star to something you wouldn't feed to you dog. This consumption of nourishing vittles, often resembling pigs at a trough, may occur in the bush, someone's home, a restaurant or in a local pub. Religious activities may then continue. An important part of the On After is the telling of jokes and all members, visitors and virgins should come armed with at least one lest they be called upon.
*Be sure to read the guidelines for setting up a Hash in Brasilia. They're tried, true methods of success to ensure your Hash is complete rubbish!