The People of Hastings Still Do May Day the Traditional Way
May Day is a bullshit holiday thought up by a bunch of heathens in the BC days. Originally a celebration of spring, it’s now primarily an excuse for Europeans to be obnoxious and take a day off work. No one cares about the day’s roots anymore, and most of its contemporary observers are screaming anticapitalists and union workers who occasionally throw punches at the police.
One place in Europe keeping things traditional is Hastings in East Sussex, England, where groups with names like Hannah’s Cat, the Lovely Ladies, and the Gay Bogies meet for a “Jack in the Green” celebration every May Day holiday weekend. This year was no exception, and on Monday a bunch of people dressed in weird pagan costumes held a procession through the town, culminating with a trek to the top of a hill where Jack—an effigy made out of leaves and flowers—is “slain.” The Hastings tradition was revived in 1983, making this year its 30th anniversary. I went along to take some pictures.