WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: GREEN – Jack in the Green, Hastings

A modern Battle of Hastings. All good green fun!

The normally stiff, staid, sensible English don’t have much of a tradition of wild festivals. No Carnivale as in Venice or Rio. No running with the bulls or Oktoberfest. No pelting each other with tomatoes. Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace is regarded as letting their hair down.

So Jack in the Green is an exception.

It seemed an appropriate entry to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Green.

Every May Bank Holiday weekend, the historic town of Hastings is invaded by morris dancers, bogies (half man, half bush, half beer), chimney sweeps, giants and the Christmas tree on legs, Jack in the Green.

There’s some serious competition between the teams (sorry, ‘sides’, I believe) of morris men and maids, climaxing in the parade through the streets of the Old Town and up to the castle with the Jack.

I’m a sucker for folkie traditions, and if morris dancing is one of the silliest forms of dance yet devised, it’s also one of the most enjoyable, for participants and spectators. It requires no great precision or physical agility (someone’s going to tell me I’m underestimating its demands, but hey, it’s not Riverdance.) Even the tunes are so easy to play that a basic fiddler like me can master them.

Morris dancing does require energy, a sense of humour and a complete lack of fear of looking foolish in a public place.

Long live Jack in the Green and long may ye dance!

May Bank Holiday weekend in Hastings.

I know my drum’s down there somewhere, but I can’t see it.


Serious fun


It’s not easy being green.

Didgeridoo coming through! Traditional instrument, you know!

It wasn’t my idea. Dad just told me to wear it.

Going green…and…


…if you can’t be green, be seen. Better red than dead. This merry band is Rumble Drumskin.

If you came to Hastings to be a living statue this weekend, take a break till the excitement dies down.

The writer was a guest of 1066 Country Tourism.

24 Comments

Filed under Art, England, travel photography

24 responses to “WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: GREEN – Jack in the Green, Hastings

  1. Great post, I love to learn more about the English traditions :D Great photos too.

  2. Love the drummer! Expected an Irish post for green somehow :-)

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  5. Love it, I’m a sucker for crazy traditions too

  6. I really do love the English…..and me with an Irish background!
    Love the photos and thanks for the witty commenatry.
    I’ve gotta go back there ….. soon!
    (Get thee behind me paragraph!!)

  7. Geez! How do you edit these comments after posting them?

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  10. It’s like a Mardis Gras, only foreign. ;)

  11. Is there one room for more? This are the events that makes me feel alive. Fun, unique, exciting, adventurous down to the last picture. A greenerrific post!

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  13. Is this Hastings in East Sussex? I went to school in Bexhill and Hastings was one of the train stops along the way… I remember visits there too… Small world! :-)

  14. This looks like such a fun tradition! Totally fabulous costumes! Do the crowds become quite rowdy and drunk, or does the party stay fairly civilised?

  15. English traditions intrigue me….like sending a lamprey pie to the Queen for her birthday :)

    • Thanks, WWWW.

      I had to Google lamprey pie:

      It’s made from fish. Henry I reputedly died from eating ‘a surfeit of lampreys’. The RAF sent a lamprey pie to Queen Elizabeth for her coronation. Lamprey are mostly used as bait fish. Is there a message here?

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