Wassail wakes up the trees in Arundel

The wassail at Arundel Community Orchard was brilliantly led by Sompting Village Morris. PICTURES: NIGEL CULL
The wassail at Arundel Community Orchard was brilliantly led by Sompting Village Morris. PICTURES: NIGEL CULL
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A medieval ritual to ensure a good cider apple harvest was performed at Arundel Community Orchard on Saturday.

The Sunset Wassail, from the Old Norse term waes hael, meaning good health, was hosted by Arundel Community Orchard Group and brilliantly led by Sompting Village Morris.

A traditional Green Man figure

A traditional Green Man figure

The magical evening event included singing, dancing and making lots of noise to wake up the trees and frighten away evil spirits to ensure a fruitful crop.

The trees then received a libation of cider and a Wassail chant.

Everyone was invited to hang pieces of toast on the branches for the birds, which represent the good spirits of the trees.

Mulled cider and apple juice were available for the crowd to join in the saluting of the tree.

Nell Paton, joint organiser, said: “It was great to see so many people gathered at sunset to take part in this ancient ceremony.

“Sompting Morris created a magical atmosphere and enough noise was made to wake up all 30 fruit trees in the orchard. It was fun.”

The community group supports the organisation for the orchard, off Fitzalan Road, Arundel.

During the year, they hold the Wassail and an Apple Day as public events, as well as organising educational activities for primary schools in the area.

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