Saturday, 7 May 2011

After A Rainy Start....

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

The day started off by pouring with rain. Why hadn't the Morris Dancers taken advantage of the hot sunny days when May began? We were having a drought and the weather was exceptionally hot then.
However, this was the day that was advertised to walk from the centre of Bristol to a Common several miles away.

Bristol is one of the few cities out of the whole of England that celebrates the beginning of the summer by parading the streets and dancing at regular intervals on the first Saturday following May Day.
This is called Jack of the Green. It is a tradition that goes back for years.

They are a group of people who dress in rag jackets and dance and play all sorts of instruments, dabbing a green blob on people's faces as they walk by.
This is usually received in good humour and everyone gets wished a Happy Summer because that is what the celebration is about.
They dance at regular intervals as well as popping into several pubs on their journey.

I made four of the rag jackets in the group, some of them while I was feeling quite poorly because of chemo.
Amber and Millie, my granddaughters managed to walk the full journey on this occasion. The wet weather hadn't lasted long and the sun came out and Granddad and I managed to meet up with the crowd when they had travelled three quarters of the way.
I walked with them to the Common and watched as the *Jack* pictured in the first photo and explained more fully in the link, was smashed up and killed.
I go because I enjoy it and for me there isn't any belief system involved. It is purely a tradition and I am pleased to be in Bristol and be able to walk some of the way with my granddaughters.

I came home quite tired after spending the afternoon with a really friendly and kind bunch of people and was pleased that the weather stayed dry for most part of the day.





28 comments:

Mya said...

A quintessentially English day - the sort of thing that makes me homesick. Glad you had fun.
Mya x

Jinksy said...

Bristol is obviously the place to be, at this time of year! And I wish I had a jacket like one of those, not to mention the headgear and a green face - with envy, perhaps?! LOL

Celia said...

A fun event to share. I'm glad you could do the end of the walk with your grandgirls, enjoying their company and passing along a tradition. Hope you are okay.

Happy Frog and I said...

I've not heard of this before. Thanks for enlightening me and for the photos too. Hope your weekend is going well. x

Suburbia said...

I've only seen this once, quite by accident. Missed it today too, must remember for next year.

Those jackets look a lot of work, well done! Everyone looks fab :-)

Glenda Manus said...

What a neat tradition! The rag jackets are even cute. I'm so happy that you are feeling better and could enjoy this year's even with your grandchildren.

Nora said...

I know those rag jackets were a lot of work to make, Maggie. I'm glad you got to enjoy the day and your granddaughters. It's neat that they grow up with these traditions. I suppose I should have been in Bristol that day.

XOX

Wendy said...

I think I read somewhere that that is a very very old tradition. Isn't it wonderful to keep it alive? You must have had sore fingers from all that sewing! But the jackets look great, so well worth the effort.

Glad you could walk with your grandchildren and enjoy the sunny day. We've had lots of rain here too.

Pauline said...

What a lovely way to welcome summer. I followed the link, then another but am still wondering what the origin of the tradition is. Doesn't matter really because I will have forgotten by tomorrow. So glad you got to enjoy part of the procession with the little ones. And well done for your contribution to the day.

Technogran said...

We usually celebrate in our local schools by dancing around the Maypole but I'm not sure if we are celebrating the same thing. Love those jackets and you did well to make them whilst under the influence of chemo. I couldn't have done it! Lovely post.

slommler said...

What an interesting and colorful tradition. Love your pics of the celebrants!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Formerly known as Frau said...

Wonderful tradition and day I'm glad the weather held out. Have a beautiful Sunday!

TechnoBabe said...

I like that you enjoy the day because it is tradition and nothing else associated with it. The jackets are actually pretty fun.

Brian Miller said...

those rag jacket dancers are really cool! smiles on the time with the grandkids!

Dimple said...

Interesting post, Maggie. Don't know if you celebrate Mother's Day, but I wish you a happy day, nonetheless.

SandyCarlson said...

Those jackets are neat. I love when you share your traditions.

Athena In Trainers said...

Sounds lovely, it's good when traditions stick. And the green face blob sounds funny! Thanks for visiting my new place - I'm excited to be back blogging again :-)
Hope all is okay and that the chemo isn't too awful.
Love, Alison x

Clare Dunn said...

I am so happy that you're happy!

Much love sent to you today!
xoxoxo, cd

Hilary said...

Such an interesting tradition. I love that last photo

Retired English Teacher said...

Thanks for sharing such an interesting tradition with us. I am fascinated by the "rag coats" that are worn. How did you put them together?

*The Old Geezer said...

:-)

SandyCarlson said...

I love this. Beautiful!

Sandi McBride said...

Oh wow! To have such fun!!!
Love the photos, the last one is a treasure lol
Sandi

Susan Lesley said...

I love it when the Morris Dancers come to Llandudno. Watching them always makes me feel happy.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

That is so cool! I miss English traditions. That is a pretty cool one.

Hope you are doing well through chemo! xx

About Last Weekend said...

I never saw this when I lived in England, how very cool. Love that you made those rag jackets though must have been hard not feeling so good.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

This is such a lovely English tradition, something we fail to have much of anymore as everything gets eaten up by the Americans and our whole culture becomes Americanized!

CJ xx

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