It’s nearly here! Not long now! No, I am not talking about the Winter Solstice, or even Christmas Day, but our Wonderful Wassail. We have set the date for Sunday 18 January 2015. Come to the orchard in time for a 3pm start. If you are a musician, bring your instrument and join in the wassailing songs. (Um, unless your instrument requires electricity – we don’t have that). If you are, like me, more of a noise maker than a musician, bring something noisy – a wooden spoon and a saucepan is quite traditional. (Firearms are very traditional at wassails, but don’t bring them!)
Now if you’ve patiently read this far, wondering what on earth a Wassail might be, I will explain. A wassail has been a drinking toast, a carol, a sort of a communal begging exercise and a bowl of hot spiced ale. But for centuries it has been a celebration of apple trees, a ceremony to bless them and encourage them to bear fruit. During the Protestant Reformation it was even made illegal, but it carried on regardless. We grow heritage varieties of apple trees in this orchard, so we felt it was only fitting to revive the wassailing tradition.
When you come as a guest to our Wassail, you will be singing, making a noise and dancing from tree to tree. We encourage you to dress the trees with ribbons, ornaments and safe lights. There will be mulled apple juice for you to drink, and to pour around the trees!
We usually gather around the oldest and largest tree to sing a wassail carol and recite this poem:
Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
Whence thou mayst bud
And whence thou mayst blow!
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Hats full! Caps full!
And my pockets full too – Hurrah!
Come one, come all. We hope to see you there.
Wear warm clothes and welly boots. Please park considerately on nearby residential streets. Bring a torch. We do not have any toilet facilities on site or nearby. The event is free, but donations are very welcome.