Wæs Hæl

I'm off to a nearby village to see something a bit special later. I live in Malvern, in Worcestershire, where they grow lots of apples that are made into cider.

For those of you that have never heard of Wassailing, here's some information that Wikipedia has very kindly provided:

"Wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. The ceremonies of each wassail vary from village to village but they generally all have the same core elements. A wassail King and Queen lead the song and/or a processional tune to be played/sung from one orchard to the next; the wassail Queen is then lifted into the boughs of the tree where she places toast soaked in wassail from the clayen cup as a gift to the tree spirits (and to show the fruits created the previous year). In some counties the youngest boy or "Tom Tit" will stand in for the Queen and hang the cider soaked toast in the tree. Then an incantation is usually recited.

A folktale from Somerset reflecting this custom tells of the "Apple Tree Man", the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard, and in whom the fertility of the orchard is said to reside. In the tale a man offers his last mug of mulled cider to the trees in his orchard and is rewarded by the Apple Tree Man who reveals to him the location of buried treasure."

I've found this little video of last years Colwall Wassail, but I'm sure I'll have photos of my own to add later...

My photo of the Colwall Wassail - and the rain!

My photo of the Colwall Wassail - and the rain!