The mystical event of Wassailing took place at Myrtle Farm, the home of Thatchers Cider, last week.
With the Wassail Queen and Green Man leading the Mendip Morris Men procession into the apple orchard, cider was poured cider over the roots of the Wassail tree, toast hung in the branches, and guns fired into the air, all part of the weird and wonderful events that make up the Wassail tradition.
The Wassail Ceremony originates from a pagan tradition of promoting the good health of the apple trees – and a great harvest. Thatchers loves to continue this tradition by asking the local Somerset based Mendip Morris Men to lead the ceremony, and the revelling guests join in the strange goings-on – banging sticks together to make noise to scare away the evil spirits from the trees , and singing the traditional Wassail song. Toast hung in the trees is said to attract the robins – good spirits who help the trees grow and produce fruit, whilst the guns fired into the air help to ward off the evil spirits. As would be expected, there’s plenty of mulled cider to keep warm too.
“The Wassail is one of the highlights of our year. It’s a reminder that cidermaking here in the West Country has a long tradition, and as a family company we take our heritage very seriously,” says Martin Thatcher, managing director, Thatchers Cider. Thatchers Cider has been making cider in Somerset since 1904.