Leapin’ leprechauns, it’s Guinness records day 17 Nov 11

(Reuters) – Irish leprechauns, tea-sipping Britons, Australian ABBA impersonators and the oldest yoga teacher on the planet were just some of the people setting world records Thursday.

More than 300,000 people around the world took part in the seventh annual Guinness World Records Day, in which a number of records have already been confirmed.

They included the largest cream tea party (334 participants) in Essex, England; the largest gathering of people dressed as leprechauns (262 participants) in Dublin; the oldest yoga teacher (91 years old) and the largest hula hoop workout (221 children) both in Florida.

Jane Malyon from The English Cream Tea Company, who hosted the Essex cream tea party, said the record combined her passion for quality time with her love of British tradition.

“Strangers became friends over scones, cream, jam and tea – and the atmosphere was as special as this amazing Guinness World Record,” Malyon said in a statement from Guinness.

In keeping with the national theme, 262 members of the public in Dublin got into leprechaun costume to break the record previously set in the United States.

“We believe that a record for leprechauns belongs to its native soil and we’re really pleased to bring it back to Ireland,” Derek Mooney from Ireland’s RTE Radio One said.

To mark the special day, 91-year-old Bernice Mary Bates was officially recognized as the oldest yoga teacher at the Mainlands Retirement Community Center in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Nearby, 221 school children from Longleaf Elementary School in New Port Richey, Florida were involved in setting the largest hula hoop workout record.

On the other side of the globe, Australia got involved in the record-breaking action as 368 children in Melbourne transformed into “dancing queens” to set a new record for largest gathering of ABBA impersonators.

Other record attempts Thursday included the most people whistling in Switzerland, the world’s largest Zumba class in the Netherlands, the largest 3D painting in London, the most arrows caught by hand in two minutes — blindfolded — in Germany, the largest rice cracker in Japan, the largest speed-dating event in China and the largest coloring book in Nigeria.

All records set on Guinness World Records Day 2011 will be short-listed for inclusion in next edition of the book.

Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief, Craig Glenday, said the day was a chance to celebrate achievement as well as civic and national pride.

“This year, it seems to be about bringing records back home to the people who are most passionate about enjoying their culture and national identity,” he said.