Swaffham gets set to wassail, wassail

PUBLISHED: 11:44 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:59 12 January 2017

Wassailers will be blessing the apple trees in Swaffham on Saturday. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Wassailers will be blessing the apple trees in Swaffham on Saturday. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A centuries-old ceremony is being held tomorrow on Saturday to bless the trees in a community orchard.

Family Action’s Escape Project and Wissey Valley Arts, with support from the Norfolk Community Foundation, will be holding a wassail at the Swaefas Swale Community Orchard, Swaffham.

The ancient ritual of drinking mulled apple juice or cider comes from cider-prodducing regions of the country. It was believed to bless the apple trees to help produce a good crop and ensure a bountiful harvest in the forthcoming season.

Wassailers will meet at 4.30pm at the Escape Community Allotments, on Tumbler Hill, for mulled apple juice followed by the ceremony which will commence with the crowning of the wassail king or queen. Then, accompanied by flaming torches, those present will join a noisy procession to the Swaefas Swale Orchard where the fire will be lit and the traditional wassail verse and ritual will complete the ceremony.

Hot soup and a bar will then be on offer at the nearby community centre, where there will be a ceilidh.

Tickets for the ceilidh are priced £6 (adult), £3 (under-16) and £12 (family).

Those attending are asked to bring torches, pots and pans or drums and things to hit them with. Musical instruments are also welcome. Monies raised from the event will be shared between Family Action and Wissey Valley Arts.

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