Jack-in-the-Green-Green-Green

May 4, 2015

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Another year, another May, another Jack-in-the-Green and some delicate window displays, some enigmatic. One of the oldest public holidays in England – the celebration of Spring and the return of life to the land after long winter months. In this quaint seaside town, where passages and ‘twittens’ thread through the narrow streets that lead down to the net huts and fishing fleet on the beach, strange dressing up happens on this day . . .

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passages + twittens

. . . locals and visitors stop and converse . . . but there’s a  focus on arriving by the net huts where Jack will be released and burst out centre stage. For previous posts click HERE. Posts from 2010 will pop up.

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purple couple

big mix

The headgear always takes my eye immediately . . . so well crafted, so imaginative, so detailed, so individual . . .

headgear

headgear 2

. . . but some simple.

head gear 3

Often the couples dress as pairs but occasionally they can’t restrain themselves. The Hums, the couple below, are always intriguing and so beautifully ‘dressed’ – by themselves. Spend a few seconds looking at the craftsmanship of the back of her jacket and her headress – then Bob Hum’s shoes  – from Primark apparently.

hum's

hum's in parade

hum's rear

hum's hat

hum's footwear

Another couple who make returned visits . . . neat, elegant footwear

footwear 2

elegant pair

. . . thank you so much for your gracious presence. Costume detail absorbs me. But to get bak to the main event, Jack, clothed in foliage is like the cows let out into the meadow, full of frolics . . .

clothing

jack

jack mask

 

floral

Following the Jack and the Bogies are Mad Jack’s Morris, the Sweeps and the May Queen, Hannah’s Cat, The Lovely Ladies and the Gay Bogies, Giants, visiting performing groups and the rhythm section in no particular order.

large figure

large figure 2

A high vanatge point is useful . . .

up high 2

up high 5

up high

. . . but sometimes a lower position is required.

down low 2

down low 4

Music and drumming and, of course, dancing are integral elements . . .

music

music 2

music drumming

dancing

. . . motorbikes are also part of the day. A large exodus from South London, Kent and West Sussex arrive and fill the seafront down to St Leonards. Shiny metal, much revving and large leather nappies on the riders.

large bikes 1

large bikes 2

large bikes 3

large sweep

A mature ‘sweep’ with interesting headgear . . . quite delicate . . .

large sweep 2

large sweep headgear

. . . more costumes on the gregarious and the less so.

costume

headgear 8

head group

This year, a new group, displaying magnificent headresses  . . .  no clue on the concept or the rationale but good fun!

head

head 2

head close up

wolf head

headgear 7

But always time to greet friends and acquaintances when the procession has wound down to the Old Town High Street. Wonderful as always.

friends

 

headgear 9

last but one

last

This is the laughing-eyed amongst them all:

My lady’s month. A season of young things.

She rules the light with harmony, and brings

The year’s first green upon the beeches tall.

How often, where long creepers wind and fall

Through the deep woods in noonday wanderings,

I’ve heard the month, when she to echo sings,

I’ve heard the month make merry madrigal.

 

How often, bosomed in the breathing strong

Of mosses and young flowerets, have I lain

And watched the clouds, and caught the sheltered song –

Which it were more than life to hear again –

Of those small birds that pipe it all day long

Not far from Marly by the memoried Seine. Hilaire Belloc May

 

4 Responses to “Jack-in-the-Green-Green-Green”

  1. charleshawes Says:

    What a fabulous post. Such a great visual celebration of this fascinating part of English culture and heritage.

  2. elizabeth Says:

    Dear Julia even more splendid than the last Jack in the Green post.
    Such costumes – so beautifully fashioned.
    The Belloc surprised me – I tend to think of him as humorous.
    Green here at last. No spring at all. Now 80F….


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