What Is Hashing?

Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a small group of British colonial officials and expatriates, led by A.S Gispert, a British accountant of Catalan descent, founded a running club called the Hash House Harriers. As batchelors, they were billeted in the Selangor Club Annex, known locally as the Hash House, because of its monotonous food.
After running for some months they were approached by the Registrar of Societies, who advised then that, as they were a “group” they would require a Constitution and a name. A.S.Gispert (known as “G”) suggested the name. Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British paper chase. A hare was given a head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, all the while pursued by a shouting pack of “harriers.” Only the hare knew where he was going…the harriers followed his clues to stay on trail.

Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and solving the clues, reaching the end was its own reward…for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced beer.

Hashing died out during World War II after the Japanese invasion of Malayisa, but started again shortly after the war, when the original protagonists, minus “G” who had been killed in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, re-assembled in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from a “one off” chapter, formed in the Italian Riviera, (now the Royal Milan and Bordighera Hash), hashing didn’t take off until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the 2nd kennel in Singapore. From then on, the phenomenon started to grow, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Europe and North America. Hashing really exploded in popularity in the mid-1970s.

There are now thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, with national and international conventions organised regularly. There are even two HHH groups in Antarctica.