WASSAIL
Saturday 21st January 2017
2.30 PM
on
ONE TREE HILL ALLOTMENTS SE23
Directions
2.30 meet on site by raised beds
2.45 move off around allotment site for Wassailing of Trees

3.30 for Jacket Potatoes, hot mulled juice & cider.
4.00 return from allotment,  retire to 10 Walters Way for drinks and nibbles

Bring snacks to share, drink of Apple Juice or Cider.
Noise making instruments.
Wrap up Warm!
Please wear decent footwear it could be very slippery

Apple Tree Wassailing
Each year in January the people of Somerset, Devon, Worcestershire, Sussex and Kent, the traditional cider making areas of England wassail their apple trees to ensure a fine crop of cider apples in the summer ahead.

Apple tree wassailing is an ancient custom that involves drinking to the health of the apple trees. The Anglo-Saxons used the phrase Wæs hal! as an everyday greeting. Wæs is a form of the verb "to be" related to modern English was. Hal is the ancestor of the modern English words whole and hale. Thus, wæs hal literally meant "Be healthy!".

Traditionally the custom involved the local farm-workers visiting the orchard after dark with shotguns, horns, food and a large pail or bowl of cider. Usually the best tree would be selected to represent the whole plantation. Cider would be poured over its roots and pieces of toast, or cakes soaked in cider would be placed in the forks of branches, or impaled on twigs; The wassail song would be sung or chanted as a blessing or charm to bring fruitfulness or even in admonishment not to fail in the coming year.

All would drink from the wassail bowl and the tree would be toasted loudly and merrily. Eventually shotguns were fired, horns blown and a great deal of noise would be made to scare off malevolent spirits whatever may or may not have lurked within the tree and awaken the tree from its winter slumber.

The old Sussex chant they used goes as follows:
Here's to thee, old apple tree,
May'st thou bud, mayst thou blow.
Hats full, caps full, bushel, bushel bags full,
And my pockets full, too.
Here stands a good old apple tree.
Stand fast, root; bear well top.
Every twig, apples big,
Every bough, apples enou'.
Hats full, caps full, four and twenty sacks full.

Another chant is
"Old apple tree, we wassail thee, and hope that thou wilt bear.
The Lord doth know where we shall be till apples another year.
To bloom well and to bear well, so happy let us be.
Let everyone take off their hat and call out to the old apple tree.....
[Spoken] Old apple tree we wassail thee and hope that thou will bear,
hatfulls, capfuls, two bushel fulls and a little heap under the stair.
Hip hip hooray!

Note : Instead of the traditional gunfire to drive evil spirits out of the trees, the finale will be a barrage of party poppers, otherwise we don’t want a visit from the Mets Finest!
In case of bad weather we will still have a gathering at number 10 Walters Way.


A Wassailing Carol

One of the most popular Wassailing Carols went like this:

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing,
So fair to be seen:

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you,
A happy New Year,
And God send you,
A happy new year.



Wassailing of Apple Trees

Apple Tree Wassail
Oh apple tree, we'll wassail thee
And hoping thou wilt bear
For the Lord does know where we may go
To be merry another year

To grow well and to bear well
And so merrily let us be
Let every man drink up his glass
And a health to the old apple tree
Brave boys, and a health to the old apple tree