Arrangements for local wassails are often a bit sketchy but the following details have been “borrowed” from the latest edition of Hopvine, the newsletter produced by CAMRA Herefordshire. Visit their website and look out for Hopvine in your local.
This old midwinter tradition harks back to the dark ages, marrying pagan tree worship with Roman gods such as Pomona, and adding in a bit of Christianity for good measure so as to please all of the Deity.
The ceremony combines clever words, weird gifts – including toast and cider – and theatre – such as banging saucepans and firing gunshot into the branches.
By tradition Wassailling takes place on or around Twelfth Night, January 6th [Twelfth Night in the old Julian Calendar equates to our present Jan 17th].
Wassails have enjoyed a renaissance over the past few years and attendance sometimes has to be restricted for safety reasons.
Unfortunately the Wassail in Dorstone will not take place this year but is hoped to be repeated in 2014.
Details can be notoriously difficult to pin down, but some of the performances that may be
expected are listed below. Not all of these may be organised in 2013, and the list is not exhaustive. And remember events may be cancelled or rearranged due to adverse weather.
Saturday 5th January: Silurian Morris meet at the Weston’s Cider, Much Marcle around 6.30pm.
Dancing at 7pm is followed by an atmospheric torchlight procession to wassail a nearby orchard before returning to the Slip Tavern for music and Mummers.
Silurian Morris website
Westons Cider website
Sunday, 6th January: (Twelfth Night) Leominster Morris will meet at the Tram Inn, Eardisley at 6.30pm.
Dancing at 7pm is followed by a Torchlight procession to wassail a nearby orchard
returning to a local pub for dancing and Mumming play.
Leominster Morris website
Tram Inn website