Hastings Jack In The Green: The Grand ProcessionMayday celebrations on the south coast
High Street, Hastings Old Town UK [map], Mon 7th May 2012 [©urban75]
Traditional Mayday celebrations date as far back as the Romans, who dedicated the day to the Goddess Flora and cut down trees to decorate them with ribbons and flowers - the origin of the May Pole.
Come the 16th and 17th centuries, Mayday had grown to include people making garlands of flowers, with a competitive spirit seeing the floral displays becoming bigger and grander.
By the late 18th century, things had become more flamboyant, with London milkmaids carrying silver-studded garlands on their heads while the chimney sweeps' went completely to town and created garlands so big that they entirely covered the fella underneath: hence the 'Jack-in-the-Green' or the 'Jack' was born.
Every Mayday you can see the Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green procession which features a continuous stream of dancers, drummers and performers making their way through the Old Town, across the seafront and up to the hilltop ruins of Hastings Castle where the 'Jack' is symbolically slain and the spirit of the Summer released.
According to the official website, those taking part in this year's grand procession included The Bogies and Black Sal, Mad Jack's Morris, The Sweeps, The May Queen, Hannah's Cat, The Lovely Ladies, The Gay Bogies, Section Five Sambalanco and Rumpledrumskin.
Here's some photos taken as the procession passed along the High Street.
Waiting for the procession by the First In Last Out public house in the High Street, Old Town, Hastings.
The procession starts.
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