Monday, 2 May 2011

Jack In The Green Parade

What a super May Bank Holiday we had at Jack in the Green Parade in Hastings. It was such a glorious sunny day for the festivities, everyone was in great spirits and the parade was a blast! It was the first time we had attended and it was wonderful; participants wore beautiful costumes with amazing masks covered in feathers and leaves, the music was fantastic plenty of drum beats to get you grooving and lots of whistle blowing from the kids (below)!
Hastings Old Town looked beautiful decorated out for the occasion with lots of foliage and ribbons, many onlookers got into the part too and dressed up just to watch the Parade, there was such a great atmosphere.

It was quite difficult to take good quality photos as there were so many people jostling for a good position, but hopefully you can get the gist from the photos I have taken.

In the 16th & 17th centuries in England folk would make garlands of flowers and leaves for the May Day Celebration and they became increasingly more elaborate. Work Guilds would try to outdo each other, in the late 18th century it became a competition, milkmaids in London would carry garlands on their heads, but the winning crown had to go to the Chimney Sweeps, their garland was so big it covered an entire man; it became known as Jack in the Green.

In Hastings there were two groups who paraded a Jack in the Green until about 1889, but by the turn of the century the custom was seen no more. However, the custom was revived in 1983 in Hastings by Mad Jacks Morris Dancers, and as you can see is still going strong in 2011!!

If you are able to get to Hastings Old Town easily then it is well worth a visit next year on the May Bank Holiday, it's fantastic fun for all the family.

And once the Parade is over they all congregate at the Castle where a small craft fair is in operation and wonderful views of Hastings.

Old Town Hastings is a favourite place of mine, it has fantastic shops all very individual, as well as plenty of Antique shops and courtyards. It is also home to a favourite Artist of mine Claire Fletcher, whose Studio overlooks the sea at Hastings.

Another wonderful shop to visit is MADE in Hastings, who offer an array of handmade items from talented artists living in and around the area.

And if you get a little hungry and need to stop for refreshments, Hastings has the BEST fish and chips shops around!

Another little gem to visit whilst here is the Felt Flower Makers Museum located on George Street, it is stacked high with handmade felt and silk flowers of all kinds and in the basement is an array of machinery from which the flowers are made, some are over 150yrs old!! The shop also boasts being involved in the making of all the flowers and head wear for the blockbuster Gladiator!!

For more information on Jack in the Green and to see photos of previous years parades, visit their website here.


Joanna said...

Looks like a brilliant day out!

Marva said...

Oh how fun!!! What great photos!