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A Wassail at home

Here is the Thatchers Guide on how to celebrate this ancient tradition of the Wassail in your own home.

What is a Wassail?

Wassail or Waes Hael means good health, and we celebrate it here at Thatchers to bless the apple trees out in the orchards for a fruitful harvest.

The tradition came from a pagan ritual and the event traditionally takes place on or around the 17th of January (Old Twelvey Night). This weird and wonderful ceremony welcomes in the good spirits and scares away the not-so-good spirits to keep the trees in good health throughout the year.

For the Wassail event every year, Mendip Morris will lead a procession to the apple orchard and celebrate the chosen Wassail Tree. Cider will be poured over it’s roots to wish good health and cider-soaked toast hung in the branches will attract the good spirits (the robins). Meanwhile, the evil spirits are are scared away by the noise from the sticks and pans – in traditional ceremonies, shots are fired into the air. Then the Wassail chant begins – and of course lots of merriment, music, and mulled cider.

What do you need to Wassail at home?

What you will need:

  • 🌳 An apple tree – or any tree will do. Be creative – maybe a potted plant instead!
  • 🍳 An old saucepan and wooden spoon to make some noise.
  • 🍎 And most importantly…Thatchers cider!

And this is what you do…

  1. Put on some music to create some Old Twelvey Night atmosphere.
  2. Pour some cider around the roots of your tree.
  3. Chant the Wassail song. (See below)
  4. Make some loud noise with your pots and pans to scare away those evil spirits.
  5. Sit back and enjoy a warming mug of Mulled Cider and a slice of traditional apple cake.

Make your own mulled cider.

To make your own mulled cider, simply take a bottle of Thatchers Gold (or Thatchers Zero alcohol-free cider for Dry January), and in a pan, add:

  • ▪ 1/4 sliced orange, lemon and apple
  • ▪ 1 star anise
  • ▪ 1 cloves
  • ▪ 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • ▪ 1 slice ginger
  • ▪ Soft brown sugar to taste.

Simmer gently for around ½ hour to let the spicy flavours infuse but be careful not to let it boil. Pour into a heat proof mug and enjoy!

Thatchers Wassail Song

O lily-white lily, o lily-white pin
Please to come down and let us come in!
Lily-white lily, o lily-white smock
Please to come down and pull back the lock!

Our wassail, jolly wassail
Joy come to our jolly wassail
How well they may bloom, how well they may bear
So we may have apples and cider next year
O master and mistress, o are you within?
Please to come down and pull back the pin


There was an old farmer who had an old cow
But how to milk her he didn’t know how
He put his old cow down in his old barn
And a little more cider won’t do us no harm

Harm me boys harm, harm me boys harm,
And a little more cider won’t do us no harm


O the ringles and the jingles and the tenor of the song goes
Merrily, merrily, merrily
O the tenor of the song goes merrily.

Hatfuls, capfuls, three-bushel bagfuls,
Little heaps under the stairs.
Hip hip hooray!


Don’t forget to share with us how you will be celebrating the Wassail this year! Send us your photos via our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and use the hashtag #toastyourtree.



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Thatchers Cider Company Ltd, Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Somerset, BS25 5RA