An Apple Tree Wassail...

"The Apple Wassail is a traditional form of wassailing practiced in the cider orchards of South West England during the winter. There are many well recorded instances of the Apple Wassail in the early modern period. The first recorded mention was at Fordwich, Kent, in 1585, by which time groups of young men would go between orchards performing the rite for a reward. The practice was sometimes referred to as "howling". On Twelfth Night [the night before or of the Epiphany/January 5th or 6th], men would go with their wassail bowl into the orchard and go about the trees. Slices of bread or toast were laid at the roots and sometimes tied to branches. Cider was also poured over the tree roots. The ceremony is said to 'bless' the trees to produce a good crop in the forthcoming season. Among the most famous wassail ceremonies are those in Whimple, Devon and Carhampton, Somerset, both on 17 January." -Wikipedia

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"The Gladly Solemn Sound choir celebrate the Old Twelfth Night wassailing tradition. Traditionalists take no notice of the modern innovation which took away 11 days from the calendar in 1752 - so they celebrate 12th night not on January 6th like the rest of the country - but on January 17th - as we are doing here by this bonfire. Earlier we supped from the wassail cup of mulled cider and enjoyed a bit of dancing too around the old oak tree." -David Burbidge
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