4 – Sweeps festival
This festival is based on an old May Day bank holiday event, when child chimney sweeps took a break from the soot and the filth and could let their dusty hair down for a day. They collected money through the streets of Kent with a colorful 7 foot character called Jack-in-the-Green. Ahh child labour.
It was a horrific job for many, so this festival was important to them. But the Climbing Boys’ Act of 1868 stopped the employment of children and so the festival faded away.
The Sweeps festival seen today, started around the early 1980s and is held from the 3-5 May. It’s popular in the south of the country with people dancing and singing with all manners of colorful clothes.
Oh. And some blacken their faces. Let’s move on shall we?