We have been a-wassailing! The inaugural Vale wassail was held on Sunday 19th February 2017 attended by around 30 locals including the Mayor of Dursley, Cllr Neil Grecian at the allotments and orchard we installed almost a year ago at Vale Community Hospital in Dursley.
Led by wassail master Steve Rowley, the event began with a procession around the fruit trees which are beginning to bud, a sure sign that spring is on the way. With music in the form of accordion, bells, drums and several home made percussion items such as saucepan and spoon, we banished the dark winter and celebrated the return of the sun.
Traditional wassail songs were sung, everyone hung toast in the tree, party-poppers were let off (not quite such a traditional part of the ceremony but a lot of fun nevertheless!), cider was drunk and apple cake eaten!
Wassailing the apple trees with uplifting songs in winter is an ancient tradition that awakens the trees from their winter slumber and toasts to a prosperous harvest. It is also a great way to bring people together, young and old and as the sun went down behind the hospital, in the spirit of togetherness and sharing, we said a toast to the new trees and joined in a cheer for the harvest to come.
This was the first wassail held at Vale Hospital and we hope to make it an annual event. We would also like to thank everyone who came and made this event such a joy.
Allotments are still available, and volunteers needed for further work. All donations welcome!
Traditional wassail song:
Wassail, wassail all over the town,
Our bread it is white our ale it is brown.
Our bowl it is made from some maplin tree,
With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee
Ancient wassail incantation:
Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
That blooms well, bears well.
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
An’ all under one tree.