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Jack in the Green festival

Mandie from the team went to Hastings the other day and stumbled upon ‘The Jack in the Green Festival. Its held every year to celebrate May Day and although everyone involved may have been wary about revelling in the start of summer, they were not disappointed and the sun broke through the mist and shone throughout the afternoon.

Jack’s hand maidens tempt him with beer filled horns

Jack’s hand maidens tempt him with beer filled horns

The festival dates back to Roman times and in England, traditionally worker’s guilds would compete with each other to be the best dressed in the carnival.  The winners were always the chimney sweeps whose garland became so large it eventually became known as The Jack in the Green.

The carnival begins

The carnival begins

The lapsed festival was restarted in a handful of towns around Britain in the 1980’s.  In Hastings this was led by the Mad Jacks Morris Dancers.  The difference now is the Jack belongs to everyone, and all are encouraged to sing, dance and to try and take a leaf home with them to be returned later in the year to the bonfire celebration which marks the changing of another season.

The procession fills the ancient streets

The procession fills the ancient streets

The revellers make their way up to the hill tops and there, with a fantastic view down into the old town and across the sea towards France the festivities commence.

Wonderful costumes and lots of green faces at the Jack in the Green festival, Hastings

Wonderful costumes and lots of green faces at the Jack in the Green festival, Hastings

Morris dancers from across the country, drumming bands and even belly dancers entertain for the afternoon.  Food stalls offer an array of tempting dishes and the beer flows freely!

One of the giants enjoying the sun!

One of the giants enjoying the sun!

Ascot eat your heart out!

Ascot eat your heart out!

The English Channel is the perfect backdrop for the wonderful show of Morris Dancing from across the country.

The English Channel is the perfect backdrop for the wonderful show of Morris Dancing from across the country.

Hastings’ calendar is awash with cultural events throughout the year.  Celebrating seafood and wine, pirates, the famous 1066 Battle of Hastings, art, culture and bonfires, why not stay at one of our high quality self catering cottages in the area.

The wonderfully English sitting room at The Granary, Old Church Farm in Guestling near Hastings.

The wonderfully English sitting room at The Granary, Old Church Farm in Guestling near Hastings.

Enjoy a candle lit bath in this beamed cottage.

Enjoy a candle lit bath in this beamed cottage.

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