Worldwide there are about 1700 chapters of the Hash House Harriers, usually in capitals and big cities where you’ll find many expats. But worldwide the chapters are pretty different.
Hashing looks like a group of people running trails, consuming large quantities of beer, singing crazy songs, you hear some frequent potty mouths and you might see some extravagant clothing or a lack of it.
But hashing is a mixture of athleticism and sociability, hedonism and hard work. But most of all, it is an escape from ‘normal’ life and it’s entertaining. An opportunity to behave like a child, to vent your frustrations, to behave outside of the norms you are used to and do it all in an environment where you are confident nobody will be judgmental towards you, and all that is said and done can be just blamed on the beer.
I think many people that hash are there to relieve stress. And what a good stress reliever it is! After participating in some of their trails and circles and parties I am very sure I found one of the tribes I can feel part of.
The hashers also have shown a great amount of hospitality similar to what you find among couch surfers. They have been hosting me, assisting in every way imaginable during my travels, and I have been making lots of great friends this way.
But there definitely is a difference between the chapters. In the USA it’s way more extreme than in Europe. In Europe except for the little bit of beer drinking I think they would qualify as ‘kids friendly hashes’ all the way even though there quite some Americans involved. The Hash runs are not as wild, it’s usually more running and like one or maybe two beer stops. Nearly falling asleep on them. Beer is often warm as they are not as fanatic about ice as we are. Boring, boring, boring. In the Ukrainian capital Kiev they don’t even run it’s more like a walk, no beer stop just drinking afterwards, so I didn’t even bother to check it out. In ‘Crazy Amsterdam’ the hash was so modest I wouldn’t have guessed that.
In USA we go wild: Trespassing, cursing, nudity, drinking, teasing and just plain being silly. Being kicked out of places by the police is very common. In America we have plenty of laws and seem to be happy to break them. In Europe everything is permitted, but then they don’t do much. So if you want a wild hash experience, check the American hashes, and for a more athletic and well behaved experience try Europe.