In times of old, when a major celebration took place, it was a tradition to hold a celebratory ox roast. Admittedly, the Ox wasn’t too keen on the idea, but it’s a long standing tradition. Although not officially only for royal events, it tended to be limited to royal events mainly as the cost of the roasting was was fairly significant.
Although ox roasts still take place in individual towns, the last major ox roast that took place across the UK was for the current Queen. Of course, the Queen was crowned at a time of food rationing, so the problem was how to get an Ox for roasting, and would there be enough to go around.
To get around the problem of allocation scarce food, the Ministry of Food decided that communities would be allocated an Ox for roasting, but only if they could prove that they had roasted one during the last Coronation – for George VI.
In addition, it was required that the council provide the Ox, and that the roasted meat be given away for free. That whittled the numbers down somewhat to just 154 applications, of which 33 were refused, 40 withdrew and 81 were approved.
Even still, it proved difficult to secure the necessary number of Ox, and offers by some towns to roast a sheep instead were rejected as being quite improper, while the MP for Aberdeenshire East, Robert Boothy mischievously suggested roasted herrings as an alternative.
The roasts took place, and were part of the national celebrations for the Coronation.
However, although they are associated with Royal events, there’s no explicit requirement for regal links, so maybe when the current crisis is over, time for a celebratory Ox Roast once more.