A traditional wassail will bid welcome and good health to 2012 apple and pear crops this month when the Welsh Perry and Cider Society host the first public event of the year at Raglan Cider Mill, Monmouthshire.
On 28th January, the annual event refers to a ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hopes that they thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the autumn.
Joining the Welsh Perry and Cider Society in their celebrations are the Widders, Chepstow based Morris dancers who are vital to the tradition of wassailing. They will lead the festivities in the traditional singing and dancing that takes place, and WPCS Chairman Dave Matthews will take charge of the ceremony as ‘Wassail Butler’.
Cressida Slater, Development Officer of the Welsh Perry and Cider Society said: “The wassail is traditionally a great way to get the whole community involved in the cider making for the following season. It is a great custom that has been celebrated for centuries, and the Welsh Perry and Cider Society encourage celebrating it every year.”
“Keeping up with tradition is highly significant in the cider trade, as most small scale cider producers still use very traditional methods to make their cider. It is also very important to introduce local communities to locally produced ciders and perries, and share the customs that accompany these artisan drinks.”