Friday, 3 May 2013

Jack-in-the-green

This is one for anyone who's in or near Hastings, in East Sussex, this weekend.  My absolute favourite thing about living in Hastings is happening this weekend - the Jack-in-the-green festival.

Although the festival as practiced here in Hastings is not as old as most folks think, it has its roots in the ancient ways of pre-Christian Britain.  One of the highlights for me is the dancing up at the Castle.  Before we moved here several years ago, I had the misconception that Morris Dancing was something a little odd practices by men with hankies.  I could not have been more wrong.  Troops come from all over the country to compete at Hastings during the festival in an exciting whirlwind of traditional music, vibrant dance and fantastic costumes.  Live music and good beer are definitely a major draw, but so too is the crazy procession through the Old Town and up to the Castle, where you follow drums which hook you in like a spell and 10ft tall paper mache character.  Along the seaside it is a mecca for bikers, with it seems every bike and trike in the country turning up to bask in the sunshine (it always seems to be sunny for Jack-in-the-green).

You cannot beat the feeling of good natured hippyness and this is a lovely way to introduce kids to old England.

If you want to know more there is a great website http://www.hastingsjack.co.uk/ and also information on Wikipedia.