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British Life & Culture

Calendar of Special Events & Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Jack in the Green


Jack-in-the-Green celebrations can be seen in different parts of England at the beginning of May. The celebrations invole the Jack-in-the Green being paraded around the streets.

The Jack is a heavy wicker structure, woven through with a thick covering of greenery and flowers.

Origins of the Jack-in-the-Green

During the 16th and 17th centuries, workers wore increasingly elaborate garlands of flowers and leaves to celebrate May Day. By the late-18th Century, milkmaids and chimney sweeps were wearing these on their heads and competition for the biggest and the best began to intensify.

It was eventually the chimney sweeps who won the day with their garland which was so big it engulfed a man. It was this which became known as the Jack in the Green.

Introduction to May Day | Maypole Dancing | Morris Dancing

May Day in the Past | May Day Today | Well Dressing

Back to folklore and facts about the month of May



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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.