Sunday, 7 January 2018

Weston's Wassail

We had a family evening out, almost unheard of for us as we're known for being pretty strict on the bedtime regime. The kids are getting that little bit older and so we're starting to have a few bedtimes past 7pm. The kids were dead to the world long before we got there.

We decided to go to the Wassail at a local cider producer. Weston's vintage cider is my drink of choice so I thought we had better help bless those apple trees to ensure a bountiful harvest this year!

I'll let wiki tell you what it is if you're none the wider, 'The orchard-visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing regions of England, reciting  incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year. Traditionally, the wassail is celebrated on Twelfth night. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn'.

It all started with some traditional Morris dancing; which if I'm honest has always creeped me out a little.  It seems lots of countries have a beautiful and moving traditional dance and we have Morris dancing. It all strikes me as a bit odd, but I suppose that's the British for you. 

Anyhow the 'leader' had a good sense of humour and had a presence that kept everyone entertained. We processed with lit torches (how long that'll last before someone stops us potentially setting ourselves on fire who knows) to the orchard. 

Here there was some dancing and chanting, fires were lit and the kids got to hang toast on the tree (a gift for the tree spirits) and cider was poured over the roots of the tree. 

We almost got to see a human sacrifice when one of the dancers missed his aim in the dance and struck another guy in the face with a club. His nose was streaming blood poor thing and he had to bow out of the dancing. A huge amount of shouting and banging then took place from us all and someone shot a volley from a gun and we were done. There was also a skeleton horse but I'm not sure what that was all about.

Much fun was had by all but the kids were shattered today.

At home we've been trying to finish the upstairs so I'll post some pics here soon.


  1. Oh what absolute fun, and what a lovely tradition to let the children be involved with. If I had been living near you, then I would have come along and joined in as well!

  2. Sounds like a great night and its great to keep the traditions. Its looks like a scene from a Thomas Hardy novel.

    1. Hopefully somewhat less tragic though!

  3. Seems pretty reminiscent of pagan ceremonies. Being something of a pagan, I'd love to attend a function like that. Unfortunately, this is Southern Baptist territory here in the Blue Ridge, and that would never be permitted to take place. People here are just getting used to having a Catholic church in the county.

    1. Sometimes I forget how progressive Britain in, we don't let religion interfere with fun!

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