work in progress ...
Wassailing is a tradition of south Wales, western England and SE Wexford in Ireland
First, care must be mad with harvesting.
Always leave three apples on each tree for the fae, for the fairies.
or if you are in a Greek tale, for the Hesperides Nymphs
and they will bless you well by managing good pollination
for a good crop for the next year.
When eating apples stored through the winter
always keep enough to make an apple pie for the sheep shearers next May
The ancient tradition of Wassailing the apple trees
is intended to awaken the sleeping tree-spirit,
protect the local people from bad health and misfortune,
and ensure a good apple harvest the following year.
Wassailing usually takes place around Yule, midwinter,
and involves the farming folk choosing one tree in the orchard to represent all.
Usually this is the oldest tree in the orchard
which is called "The Apple Tree Man" tree,
which is where the spirit of the Apple Tree Man lives.
The people present would drink a cider toast of good health to the tree
then throw cider over its roots
and put a piece of bread or toast soaked in cider
into a fork of the tree's branches that can be reached
Then the apple trees are danced around while a Wassailing Song is sung.
Avoiding this ritual was thought to bring bad luck, bad health
and a poor yield of apples the following year.
After the Wassail ritual the people return to the farmhouse
to feel on apple pie, apple flapjacks, and other apple recipes
then a lot of jollity through stories, songs, dances
and thoughts and prayers shared about those not present.
Traditionalists try to preach that Wassailing should never happen
where past history of Wassailing is not known.
But, there is also an argument that all apple trees have a right to be wassailed wherever they grow. As there seems to be a growing affinity between trees and humans, today, there is gradually more acceptance to allow in the tradition of Wassailling in its altered modern meaningful ways.
In Sussex the Wassailing Tradition is known as 'Apple Howling',
and their celebration time is different too. It is on the Eve of Epiphany, the Twelfth Night, old Christmas.
At this celebration, spiced buns, almost the same recipe as hot cross buns, and cider are served.
In Herefordshire, England, Samhain is the apple blessing time, where cider is sprinkled onto the Samhain fires, and not on the trees, with a call for the other world spirits to bless the Apple trees to crop well the next year
Then a feast of apple goodies from apple recipes are shared.
So what I offer for you to do nowfor the rest of our workshop time together
is make some kind of apple and oats flapjacks
that we can share with a drink