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'Hastings Jack in the Green' lead the demo - photo by Steven Terenzio, White Witch
CAMPAIGN FOR THE PRESERVATION OF MAY DAY!!
On Monday, 18th April 2011, the Old Palace Yard in Westminster was flooded by a sea of greenery, as Jacks in the Green, drummers, May Queens, Morris dancers, 'Obby 'Osses and a plethora of Pagan supporters brightly bedecked in ribbons, tatter jackets, flora, top hats, feathers and copious amounts of green 'war paint' descended on Parliament to persuade The Government that the May Day Bank Holiday should not be moved to another date. Representatives from Hastings, Rochester and Deptford Jacks in the Green, along with Mad Jack's and Oyster Morris Men, joined with White Witch and many friends in the Pagan and traditional festival movement to deliver a petition of over 3,000 signatures to Minister for Tourism, John Penrose.
May Day Demonstrators make plenty of colour and noise! photos by Steven Terenzio, White Witch
Chairman of the Hastings Jack in the Green celebrations, Keith Leech said ‘I have no idea why they have resurrected this old chestnut. They tried to do this before under John Major, it was shown to be a bad idea then and will, I am sure, be shown to be a bad idea again.’ The campaign started in Hastings, where the Hastings Jack in the Green festival is world famous and renown as one of the premier 'must see' events in England, attracting visitors from around the world. The whole of Hastings is behind the campaign, which has cross party support from both the Labour Council and Conservative MP, Amber Rudd. Ms Rudd hosted the petition to keep the May Day Bank holiday on her website and led the demonstration when the petition was presented to The Minister.
The May Day festivities bring in thousands of overseas visitors and many millions of pounds to the economy. Hastings, Rochester, Bristol, Ilfracombe and Whitstable all hold Jack in the Green celebrations, whilst Upton upon Severn holds a folk festival, Knutsford has a weekend long May Day celebration and there are numerous May Day events throughout villages in England. As Pagans, we celebrate May Day as 'Beltane' and Government consideration to reschedule a festival for any other religious belief system would be tantamount to political suicide!
Pagan friends loud & proud with young protestor / The fabulous Hastings Green Man! (Mick Bovee)
photos by Steven Terenzio, White Witch
The Facebook group ‘We do not want to lose the May Day Bank holiday’ has over 15,000 supporters and other online campaigns are springing up. May Day is one of the oldest public holidays in England and has attached to it many customs and traditions that are part of England's cultural heritage.
The UNESCO World Heritage Convention, concerning the protection of world cultural and natural heritage considers 'that deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world'. Most EU nations are signatories of this Convention and their traditional customs are preserved. The UK Government has not signed this Convention and, therefore, any of our cultural heritage customs are potentially under threat.
'Mad Jack' Morris - photo by Steven Terenzio, White Witch
WHAT YOUCAN DO
Send an email to your local MP - http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ and enter your post code. Click on your MP to obtain their profile page and access to their Parliamentary and Constituency email addresses. State your complaint regarding the proposed change to May Day and ASK YOUR MP SPECIFICALLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO OPPOSE OR SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT DECISION AND WHETHER THEY OPPOSE OR SUPPORT THE UK SIGNING OF THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION. This ensures that they MUST reply to you with notification of their proposed action. Encourage your friends and family to email INDIVIDUALLY - EACH EMAIL COUNTS.
TOGETHER WE CAN PRESERVE MAY DAY - DON'T LET THEM STEAL OUR HERITAGE!
A Pagan protestor gets it off his chest ! - photo by Steven Terenzio, White Witch
'The Sons and Daughters of Robin Hood' by Damh the Bard, captures the current political climate and wonderfully represents the outrage of the Pagan community.