I went to Jack-in-the-Green in Hastings today. I’m not going to go into the history (it’s on the website if you’re interested) but it’s a May Day parade where a ‘Jack’ (the big tree-like thing with t
he flowers on top) is burnt to release the spirit of summer. It seemed to work, because right around the time the burning was due to happen, the sun came out. (We missed that bit, because we were in the pub.)
It was a lot of fun, in a Wickerman kind of way. There were some amazing costumes: people painted green; people covered in leaves and flowers; people wearing antlers and people dressed as chminey sweeps, oh and a women with an owl. An OWL!. We got flower garlands and were daubed with facepaint by a passing Morris woman.
There was also an enormous amount of booze flowing and a lot of drunk teenagers flirting with each other. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was. I love traditions like this – I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body, but there’s something nice about marking the changing seasons in a way that people have done for centuries.