The Apple Wassail is a traditional form of wassailing practiced in the cider orchards of 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, 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.
In 2017 the annual Wassail at Pickering Road Community Orchard will be taking place on Sunday, 8th January 2017 at 12:00–12:30. Prompt start! Wear a silly hat and if possible bring something to make a lot of noise such as a drum.

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