One of the nice things about living in a rural west country village are the community events. Tonight I attended a Wassail Party, it’s an old english tradition to bless the apple trees and bring luck to next years crops. There were certainly a lot of apples this year, so lasts years Wassail must have been done well. There were so many apples this summer in fact that most of us didn’t know what to do with them!
There was apple sauce, apple cake, apple sponge, apple chutney (some of which was made by my own fair hands) apple vinegar, apple cider and apple wine! At Wassail cider a plenty is shared (and strong stuff too, it usually comes in around the 7% mark!) and songs are sung around a bonfire. One of the more worrying things for me as the previously uninitiated was the strange man lurking in the bushes with a shot gun. It crossed my mind that perhaps this quaint little ritual was going to turn into a village massacre. But I shouldn’t have worried, the shot gun was aimed at the apple trees and was fired to warn off evil spirits who may try and make off with the cider apples! (Of course why on earth didn’t I think of that!?)
A wassail Queen is chosen and she wears an ivy crown on her head. She blesses the tree with lasts years cider and then hangs toast from it’s branches in honour of the good tree spirits who will help with next years crops. It was a really lovely occasion although that strong cider has definitely gone to my head! Oh well, at least it’s organic so fingers crossed that my hangover won’t be too bad!!