I am very excited by the plans for the Wassail – it’s become a feature of the orchard year, something to get us out in the cold (and sometimes wet) and remind ourself that, eventually, spring blossoms must come.
This time we are looking into bringing a bit more of the wild wood into the orchard, in the person of the Holly King and the Ivy Queen. The story is a familiar one, another way of telling the endless narrative of the changing seasons – every year, after the harvest, the Holly King takes on the Oak King in single, mortal combat. Of course, the Holly King must win, but the Oak King will rise again in the summer. The winter cold belongs to the Holly King, and to the Ivy, his Queen. Together they represent life in the depths of winter, irrepressible greenery. Remember the carol “Of all the trees that are in the wood, the Holly wears the crown.”
So – be greenwood royalty for the day – come to our Wassail as a King or Queen and join in the revelry. There will be music, singing and dancing. You can signify your status with a few leaves, a mask, green clothing – or you can go full-on, like this marvellous Holly King from the performance company ‘The Lion’s Part’. Just mind those prickles….

Holly King from Bankside Wassail

Holly King from Bankside Wassail

Wassailling details: Meet at Trumpington Orchard Sunday 10th January at 2:30pm. Apart from costumes, wrap up warm, and bring a torch. The event is free but donations are appreciated. Be prepared to sing!

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