A ban on bananas has been imposed in a small Scottish town as it prepares for its biggest weekend of the year – the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.
Superstitious seafarers regard bananas as bad luck on board boats and festival organisers have come up with the unusual move to ward off any potential misfortune to the North-east’s biggest maritime celebration, which takes place in Portsoy on July 4 and 5.
Banana ban signs have been posted, a banana amnesty has been introduced and local businesses have come out in support of the action, with Portsoy Ice Cream removing banana flavoured ices from its range until after the event.
Roger Goodyear, chairman of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, says: “Bananas may be a delicious fruit but they are considered bad luck on boats.
“We want to do everything possible to make sure our 2015 festival is a success and we don’t want to take any chances. Our ban on bananas is a tongue-in-cheek nod to our seafaring heritage and is a reminder that the ocean can be a mystical, but dangerous, place and as such there are many traditional superstitions among fisher people.”
There are several theories on why people believe bananas are bad luck for a boat.
One is that back in the early days of the banana trade, crews would overload the banana boats when leaving the tropics, resulting in the boats capsizing in bad weather.
Another is that wooden sailing boats involved in the Caribbean trade of the 1700s had to move so quickly to deliver bananas before they spoiled that the crew had a hard job catching fish.
It’s suggested that bananas harboured dangerous spiders whose bite could be painful or even fatal. Or could it be that discarded banana skins left on deck could cause crew members to slip and fall?
Although a banana ban is now in place, there will be plenty of tempting local produce at the boat festival. To celebrate the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015, the festival will celebrate Scotland’s fantastic natural larder and exceptional natural produce, as well as the landscapes, people and culture that make the nation’s food heritage unique.
Traditional wooden boats from all over the UK and beyond will converge on the historic 17th century harbour while visitors will have the opportunity to watch the build and restoration of traditional vessels, learn how to sail a coracle and watch the skiffs go head to head for the highly competitive open seas regatta.
With beautiful boats, exhilarating skiff races on the open seas, seafaring and rural craft demonstrations, music and dance and food and drink, the festival annually attracts thousands of visitors, delivering a financial boost to the area.
Mr Goodyear adds: “As one of Scotland’s leading events, The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival is renowned for its creative offerings and 2015 is no different. As the festival attracts more historic vessels, craft exhibitors, artists, performers and musicians than ever before, visitors will be involved, inspired and engaged throughout. From toe tapping folk music and unique handmade products, to delicious fresh smoked kippers and seasonal treats there will be something for the whole family to enjoy.”