Different forms of commemoration in Hastings
Hastings is a town that loves invented tradition. The May day Jack in the Green, I have previously discussed here, is a case in point. The current carnival week prides itself on repeating earlier commemorations such as the bike race up a steep hill in memory of the late Jimmy Read, a fisherman killed in the hurricane winds of 1987, or the annual blessing of animals in All Saints church. In a ceremony conducted by Brother Aelred, an Anglican Cistercian monk, he acknowledged that animals were an integral part of human lives and shaped human personalities. Significantly he referred to animals not only as pets but as companion animals. He specifically remembered those who had died in the previous year and urged the humans present to treat animals with compassion. Animals, mainly dogs, but also a cat and tortoise, were individually blessed.
More solemnly, the Hastings against War group organised a commemoration of the war dead in the 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Imitating the ceremonies that take place annually in Hiroshima, 70 coloured paper lanterns were launched across the lake in Alexandra Park at dusk.