Glorious mud: Finnish footballers, holidaying Koreans and even the Chinese Army have been enjoying its earthy pleasures

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A A A

Pigs like mud (with the exception of Cinders, the muck-phobic little porker who escaped the sausage machine two summers ago after her owners took pity and fitted her with tiny gumboots). Hippopotamuses like mud, too. But then pigs and hippos are wired to wallow – they don't sweat and mud keeps them cool. What's our excuse?

As Britain's parks and fields turn to dustbowls in what is shaping up to be the hottest, driest year for more than a century, humans all over the world are adding water to channel their inner swine.

The tackles were especially dirty last week at the Swamp Soccer World Championships in Hyrynsalmi, Finland, where goalkeepers had an excuse for being rooted to the spot, up to their knees as they were in a thick, black sludge.

The therapeutic qualities of a good soak were evident at the Plain du Nord festival in Haiti on Sunday, where believers plunged into great pools of mud as they asked the voodoo spirits to bless them and their children with riches and good health (before having a good wash, presumably).

If exposure to dirt strengthens our resistance to disease and allergies – scientists call it the "hygiene hypothesis" – then the Chinese army is a force to be feared. Hundreds of soldiers of the country's counter-terrorism unit were seen flat on their backs in a brown murk on Tuesday as they grappled with giant logs in what looked like the world's dirtiest training exercise.

Elsewhere, love blossomed at a mud festival in Boryeong, South Korea, beards became caked in grime at the "mud pit belly flop contest" during this month's Redneck Games in Georgia, in the United States, while at Esch in the Netherlands, 200 people celebrated as they broke the world record to get the most people ever into a pool of mud at the same time.

But for all our childish revelling in mud, that comes in colours from red-brown to deep black, we will never look as content in the mire as our thicker-skinned friends with their curly tails. But for mud lovers of all species, it was the hippo who said it best.

"Mud, mud, glorious mud," goes the chorus to "The Hippopotamus Song", the classroom favourite by the British comedy duo Flanders and Swann. "Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood... So follow me follow, down to the hollow... And there let me wallow in glorious mud."

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life