Jack In The Green Fest ... A Way To Celebrate Summer's Arrival....

@Darkwing (21588)
May 3, 2008 8:40am CST
The weather may not have been too great of late, but the Jack In the Green Fest at Hastings, is symbolic of the start of the Summer months. Held in Hastings, each year, on the nearest weekend to Beltane/May Day, is the Jack In The Green Fest. It started on Friday, with live music from local bands, in the Old Town, and a folk group in the Castle. Today, Saturday, there will be Morris Dancers around the town, followed in the evening by the Big Ceilidh, which will be held in the St. Mary in the Castle Arts Theatre. Sunday, there will be a special church celebratory service, followed by Morris Dancing in the church grounds, and live, lunchtime music in one of the local pubs. In the afternoon, at 1.30, the Castle will be a hive of excitement as the Hastings May Queen 2008 is officially crowned, and in the evening, there will much folk dancing and music, in three separate venues. This all culminates on Monday into the most meaningful part of the weekend... at nine in the morning, he Morris sides, and a whole host of other characters start to gather at the Fisherman's Huts in the Old Town. The greening begins here! At 10.15, to a chorus of Bogie drummers, the Jack is released from the Fishermen’s Museum, where Mad Jack's Women perform their magical dance around him. Then, the Procession begins... the Jack and his attendant Bogies, men and women of Mad Jacks Morris , the Giants, Hannah's Cat Morris and all of Jacks other guests. The Procession pauses for refreshment and dancing awhile, and continue up to the Castle, at about 12.00 noon. The Jack arrives in the Castle via the Ladies Parlour while the Bogies drum the procssion in, and during the afternoon, there is more Morris Dancing and a Craft Fair. Then, at approximately 3.30 p.m., after the dancing, the Bogies parade the Jack down to the stage where he is symbolically slain and the Spirit of Summer is released for another year. I have to try to get to the Castle in time for the arrival of the Procession, at least. It takes about two hours to get to Hastings, and is going to be busy, so will have to play it by ear. I've never managed to make it to this, but it really sounds like a whole lot of fun and a good way to celebrate Beltane and while away a Bank Holiday Monday. Do you have anything like this in your town... Maypole Dancing, Morris Dancers, Jack in the Green celebrations? I'd love to hear about your celebrations.
6 people like this
12 responses
@ElicBxn (61135)
• United States
3 May 08
I have never heard of any of this stuff before. I'm barely aware of Beltane and while I don't know anyone that doesn't know what Maypole is, I've never seen one done. I do believe they do something like this at some of the Renfaire's around here, but I never saw it.
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
Jack In The Green With Morris Dancers - Jack in the Green at Hastings Castle surrounded by Morris Dancers.
Beltane is the Pagan festival, my friend, from which May Day celebrations are drawn. They both go way back in time and traditions. Perhaps you might enjoy watching this video? It's of school children dancing the maypole. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ctK4tswNEs&feature=related Brightest Blessings and thank you for your contribution. xx PS: I hope you won't mind but my picture for this discussion didn't upload, and I'd like to put it in here, as you're first to respond. Thank you.
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• Regina, Saskatchewan
3 May 08
Where I live the biggest celbration is lighting the lights on the tallest pine tree in town at Christmas! See, this is another reason I want to live in England. I just LOVE the kind of things you describe here Darkwing. I really think I'm some kind of repressed elf or leprechaun who sooooo misses the fests and fairs and celebrations of life that England is so full of even in this modern day and age.
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
I love it when the Christmas lights are turned on. They add such a warm feeling to the dreary winter days and evenings. Lol at the elf or lepechaun... if you look in response numbers 1, 4 and 5, you will find some video links. The one in number 1 is a maypole dance, and the others, Jack In The Green celebrations. Brightest Blessings, and thank you for your contribution, my friend. xxx
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• Regina, Saskatchewan
4 May 08
Thanks for directing me to the links Darkwing. The Maypole dancers actually reminded me of my school days - all those lovely colored ribbons! LOL And that was the tallest Jack I've ever seen! LOL
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
Ahemmm... yes, he is rather tall, my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed the videos, and you're more than welcome. A taste of things to come, huh? xxx
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@weemam (13377)
3 May 08
No we don't have anything like that pal . It sounds great fun though , I hope you manage to get there and that the weather stays dry for it , Have a great day pal xxxx
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
Unfortunately, my friend, the weather forecast is rain for tomorrow, and it being quite a long journey from here, and mostly at the castle ruins which are atop the cliffs, I think I might take my second option, and go out with my Son and his family. We plan to have Kentucky in the evening, so sounds good to me. If we just go to Buchan Country Park or somewhere, it doesn't take more than 5 minutes to get back, if it rains! I'm afraid Hastings will have to wait another year, but I'll hope for better weather for Eastbourne's Lammas festival. Brightest Blessings, my dear friend and thank you for your contribution. I thought you might have something special in the castles of Scotland. Hever and Leeds Castles have jousting weekends this weekend. They're great fun! xxx
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@weemam (13377)
4 May 08
I am just going to catch up with some chores tomorrow pal , We went out today instead , we had a drive o Loch Lomond again , it is a favourite drive of mine , It was raining on and off but didn't spoil the drive , Jim Ross and Dad had chips from the drive through at McDonald but I was really good and had a babybell with me and some bottled water , My halo is sparkling lol . I hope you have a great weekend pal no matter where you end up xxx
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
It seems to me that there's something keeps drawing you back to Loch Lomond... similar to my draw to Avalonia. It's like there's a voice on the wind, calling you home, my friend. I'm glad you had a lovely day for your trip, and well done, with the diet!!! Chips somehow don't appeal when you get going on your diet, do they? I had fresh prawns with coleslaw and a small green salad, followed by a fresh fruit salad made from strawberries, kiwi fruit and satsuma, with a desertspoonful of creme fraiche on top. yummmmmmmmy... just 2 C Units, and very good for me! xxx
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@mummymo (23707)
3 May 08
Sweety that sounds like great fun but I can't help laughing at the bogies! lol Anyway I do hope you make it and I look forward to some fantastic pictures if you manage it and more mental images if you can't! As far as I am aware there are no specific May day celebrations here - I will just have to celebrate Niamh coming home from my sisters and give her a big hug! lol xxx
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
I think I'm going to have to forego the pleasure after all, my friend, as the weather forecast is rain for tomorrow. However, if you look in response numbers 4 and 5, there are some links to videos covering parts of Jack In The Green celebrations. There's lots of Morris Dancers and Bogey Men too! Ha ha ha. There are even Crow Men in one section! Brightest Blessings my friend, an thank you for your contribution. xxx
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@mummymo (23707)
5 May 08
I hope that the forecast is wrong my dear friend! We actually have a very sunny, warm day here - my son has just came inside saying it is too hot outside! I am going to have a peek at those videos now! xxx
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@Darkwing (21588)
6 May 08
Well, it rained last night, and it rained this morning, and ended up with hazy sunshine. Then, I found there were no buses through the village today, so suggested to my Son, we go to Heaven Farm, which I've accounted for in my new discussion. It's not so far, and not so crowded, so I'm afraid the Fest is out until next year, now. I might even go spend a couple of days at Bath, because it seems a little smaller, and a nice place to go and stay. All in all, we had a great afternoon, so it wasn't a bad choice. xxx
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@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
3 May 08
as far as I know we didnt have one and ont have one. But I sure would love to see yours!
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
If you look in the previous two responses, of Wickedangel's and Bizzibodie's you can watch some videos of the celebrations my friend. Enjoy! Brightest Blessings and thank you for your contribution. xxx
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
5 May 08
those were great thanks for pointing them out
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@Darkwing (21588)
6 May 08
You're more than welcome my friend... great fun, huh? xxx
@wickedangel (1636)
• Dominican Republic
3 May 08
Oh wow, this sounds like a whole lot of fun and Hastings is beautiful. I'd love to be there and watch it all, I find all the old traditions and customs so fascinating. I have absolutely no idea about what goes on here in the Dom Rep., they do have celebrations and things but a lot of them are related to catholic saints and voodoo spirits - quite a mixture! In London we never really got to see any of the Morris dancers or anything like that. I only ever saw this sort of thing when I had a bf from Whitney (Oxfordshire) and that was the first time I got to see Ye Olde Worlde of Englande. I was fascinated. Thanks for sharing this with us Darkwing and I hope you make it to the castle on time to get some lovely photos that you can share with us (jealous me!). Have fun...
@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
Yeah, it looks a whole heap of fun too, but the weather forecast is for rain tomorrow, so I've almost given up on it. If you know Hastings at all well, you'll know that the castle is ruins, right on the top of the cliffs, where the wind blows and the rain drives at you, so probably, my plans will have to be put aside until next year now. They still have the Lammas celebrations in Eastbourne, in August, so maybe I'll go there. They have a pagan craft fair and everything there as well, so, I might have a chat with my friend. Ah, the Cotswolds are one of the main places of origin of Morris Dancing in this country, my friend, so Oxfordshire was a good place to go! You'd love York, I reckon... ever been there? Brightest Blessings my dear friend, and thank you for your contribution. xxx
• Dominican Republic
4 May 08
Oh what a shame about the pending weather. Well I'm not at all surprised. Any time there is a bank holiday coming up the weather always turns nasty. It is almost a given fact! A bit like weekends! Oh poor you. Yes, I love York. I love the spirit of the place. You can almost feel history walking around you, the quaint streets, buildings - wonderful. I'm hoping to visit there when I come over. Still waiting for the right tickets but will let you know what is happening! Take care my friend and thanks for the email. Will sit down when I have a quiet moment to read the articles - sorry you didn't get the job!
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
It's been pretty good weather since thursday, my friend. It's getting warmer all the time, although it was a bit overcast today. Tomorrow the rain though! Yes, York absolutely wreaks history, and I love the cobbled streets with the olde worlde shops. At night time too, there is a spiritual feel to the place, as you say. It's just like the spirits are following you around. I love the place. I've found a video for you to watch, of part of the parade at Hastings... there are a few different type of Morris Dancers there, which you might find interesting. The quality of the video is not too great because of the wind, but it's worth a watch. The Morris Dancers are in the last part of the video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfjdjoBV0xw Enjoy!! xxx
@Bizziebod (3526)
3 May 08
Hi Darkwing, that all sounds like great fun! I unaware of anything that goes on in this neck of the woods, that celebrates Mayday and certainly not in such an elaborate way! There maybe a few villages out in the sticks and perhaps some schools but nothing that I'm aware of! Have a great day! Blessed Be
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
I think you'd love it, my friend. It's your sort of thing from what I can gather. I'm putting a couple of videos in for you to watch... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOPPD-2bkNs&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0E6HViALFU&feature=related And this one's not too far away, is it? Bristol... I think Jack has been at the mead!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMTXq2IZ9Cs&feature=related Enjoy the videos... Brightest Blessings and thank you for your contribution, my friend. xxx
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@Bizziebod (3526)
4 May 08
They're great! Thanks for that! Blessed Be!
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
You're more than welcome, my dear friend. xxx
@GardenGerty (116532)
• United States
3 May 08
Next Friday we will celebrate All Schools Day, originally started over 125 years ago to recognize graduating 8th graders. It now honors all of our students. Schools close, banks close,we have a May Fete for two days, with Maypole and talent performances. My granddaughter will be in it this year. Bands and schools and organizations come and march in the parade. We have a carnival, mad- a-thons and lots of other in town entertainment. In the fall we have a Scottish Festival with suitable vendors, entertainment, music and contests. I find that in this part of Kansas, almost every weekend has a celebration. Please, tell more about Morris dancers. Morris is the name of my mother's father's family, she always wondered if there was a connection.
@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
Oh wow... your celebrations sound great, and won't it be lovely to have your granddaughter perform this year? I'm sure that will make you very proud, my friend. It sounds as though May Day and Spring are celebrated worldwide in one way or another. As for the Morris Dancers, their real origin seems to have been lost in the mists of time, and there are many versions of it. I don't think the name "Morris" relates to a family name, it more derives from the continent. If you take a look at this site, it might give you some more ideas... http://home.nycap.rr.com/pkb/history.html The customs page on that link is interesting too. Enjoy. Brightest Blessings my friend, and thank you for your contribution... very interesting. xxx
@littleowl (7157)
5 May 08
hi Darkwing-that sounds fantastic-if you go it it will be great to hear about it all and what you did Shame I'm working over the weekend so would like to go myself-instesd will be work-brightest bkessings littleowl
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@Darkwing (21588)
5 May 08
Never mind, my friend. They've forecast rain anyway, so I doubt I'll attempt it in that case. It's a long way to go to get soaked to the skin. If you look in responses 4 and 5, I've posted some video links, you might like to see. Brightest Blessings and thank you for your contribution. xxx
@littleowl (7157)
6 May 08
Hi Darkwing-have looded at videos from other responses it looks brilliant festival-this year they did one in brighton but know about til today (monday)-bright blessings littleowl
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@Darkwing (21588)
6 May 08
OOh heck, and Brighton is so much closer... I might have made that one! Oh well, there's always next year my friend. Thank you for the heads up on that! xxx
@Hatley (164226)
• Garden Grove, California
4 May 08
Darkwind compared to the UK we really do not have anything that historical at least not here in Southern Ca. I envy you being able to take in all of this historical stuff. I thinkvin the southern states they have more celebrationsof reenactments from the civil war dating back to civil war times. we used to in my home state have a festival called the Days of 76 where we would have rodeos and calf roping and all of that plus scenarios showing how Wild Bill Hicox was killed and a lot of historical stuff including Calamity Jane but for one thing as countries go the USA is really a baby in comparison. we have a large museum in Deadwood south Dakota where the days of 76 plays out and themuseum has some really fascinating things. set in sort of scenarios of the way people lived in 1876 in South Dakota also we have some huge steam locomotives displayed there. it is a wonderful place to just poke along and take your time to see everything. there are walls and walls of old pictures of early day in Dakota territory showing the sod shanties made of dirt and grass where our forfathers first settled.
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
You just reminded me that when I went to the States... Oregon, to be precise... we spent a day in the Columbia Gorge, visiting the Lewis and Clark Museum. I found a video relating to the story, which shows the Columbia Gorge, the Museum, a brief glimpse of Multnomah Falls and Mount Hood and also, a reenactment of the Lewis Clark Oregon Trail, which took place on the bi-centenary. It's very interesting, if you'd like to take a look... only two hundred years ago but definitely a big part of American History... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLUWRAROp9E&feature=related Enjoy my friend... you see, you do hold onto your history. The other things you mention are relative too. Brightest Blessings, and thank you for your contribution. xxx
• United States
3 May 08
Watch out for them Morris Dancers. Who knows what the dance steps really mean. It sounds like a really fun time. Did you go gather May flowers at first light? I missed May Day this year because of finals.
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
Unfortunately it was pouring with rain at first light, so I had to make do with some from my garden. It's very muddy over the field beside the bluebell wood. A shame, because I love to do that. I'm not scared of the Bogey Men and Crow Men!!! Brightest Blessings, my friend and thank you for your contribution. x
@raydene (9874)
• United States
3 May 08
Awww Sweets I so would love to go! I wish I could accompany you we would have such fun! It sounds wonderful. Honey you must tell us every detail later. The color of the costumes and who you spoke with..we want to feel we were there and you are the one to make it real for us. xoxoxoxoxo
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@Darkwing (21588)
4 May 08
The weather forecast for tomorrow is preventing me from making arrangements my friend. It's a pretty long journey just to get soaked to the skin, but if you look in wickedangel's and bizziebodie's responses, I have posted some videos of the day. Brightest Blessings, my dear friend, and thank you for your contribution. xxx