Dancing at dawn in Hastings to celebrate May Day

People will be gathering on the West Hill in Hastings tomorrow at the crack of dawn to welcome in the First of May.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 1:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 1:03 pm
Dancing at Dawn, West Hill, Hastings. Photo by Kevin Boorman. Three local sides, Mad Jacks Men, Mad Jacks Women, and Hannahs Cat, followed the tradition of dancing at dawn on May Day, on Ladies Parlour, against the historic backdrop of Hastings Castle. Starting at 0500, each side performed a number of dances, with the event finishing with a mass dance around the perimeter of Ladies Parlour. SUS-180105-085138001

Local Morris sides including Mad Jacks and Hannah’s Cat traditionally rise early on May 1 to dance the sun-up on the Ladies Parlour, opposite the castle.

The annual event usually attracts an enthusiastic crowd of early risers.

May Day celebrations have been carried out in England for over 2,000 years. The Romans celebrated the festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, in May, which marked the beginning of summer.

Many of the old customs celebrating new life and fertility survive to this day, including Morris dancing and dancing around the Maypole.

Hastings celebrates the start of summer this weekend with the annual May Day Jack-in-the-Green celebration. Look out for the procession following The Release of the Jack on Monday, culminating in The Slaying of the Jack, representing the release of the Spirit of Summer.

Sun rise on May 1 is 5.32am.