This was our take on the traditional Wassail to help kick start the apple growing season in the Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve Community Orchard. We managed to avoid the heavy showers for what turned out to be a lovely starry evening.
So what is a Wassail? It is a traditional ceremony that goes back 1000s of years and that is still practiced in Gloucestershire. The purpose of Wassailing is to awake fruit trees from their winter sleep and to scare away evil spirits and ensure a good harvest next Autumn. To make it a success we decorated the orchard with some fantastic candle lanterns we made the week before. Then we sang and shouted and banged saucepan lids, blew horns and generally made a terrible racket - to make sure the work was done. There was warm apple juice to keep out the cold. You Kingfishers certainly showed you were up to the challenge!
Here are the three chants we spoke to the trees:
We sang Gloucestershire Wassail to each of the newly planted trees. Follow the link for words and music.
A big thank you to Rupert for the photos.