25th Oct, 2020

Noisy merrymakers to wake up the orchard at the annual Wassail

NOISY merrymakers will be descending on Headless Cross Green to wake-up the orchard at this month’s Wassail.

Hosting their ninth annual Wassail on Saturday, January 4, Headless Cross Community Orchard will see rowdy revellers banging pans and making noise to awaken the fruit trees for the year ahead.

Starting at 7pm outside The Rocklands Social Club on Birchfield Road, the noisy procession will lead to the orchard for a celebration of this ancient custom.

Since bygone times, wassailing has been popular across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Somerset, counties famed for their orchards.

The wassail is believed to ensure a fruitful harvest and awaken the trees for the coming year.

As usual, the ceremony will see the Wassail Queen adorn the fruit trees with cider soaked toast.

Proceedings will be led by Mistress of Ceremonies Liz Jennings, and the event includes an amusing play, music from Arrow Valley Brass Band with mulled cider and juice to keep the cold out.

Afterwards there will be live music at The Rocklands from local guitarist Alan Sheward and the foot-stomping band ‘Hatstand’, from Rugby.

Each year the Headless Cross Wassail includes an amusing topical play, where the trees are threatened with the chop. Orchard volunteer Alistair Waugh plays a local hero ‘Brave Sir Doddin’ who helps save the day.

Alistair said: “Wassail means good health, it’s a toast to the fruit trees. Blessings are offered in the hope there’s a bountiful harvest. It’s a custom that’s as old as the hills.”

“We want to keep that custom alive because it values our orchards, it keeps us in touch with the seasons and nature but best of all, it brings the community together.

“Everyone’s welcome, just bring some noise. Wassailing is fun, free and family friendly!”

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