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Wednesday December 12 2018

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In Full . . .

Wassail with a bang!

Posted on January 30 2018 at 1:49:45

Wassail

Pam Morley, of Aelfgythe Border Morris, invites you to a special event.

This year’s annual Alvechurch Wassail promises to be bigger and better than ever, involving not just dancing from several Morris sides but also traditional Wassail carols from Alvechurch Community Choir, the samba band Banda Sem Nome, and musketeers from the English Civil War Society.

Villagers are warmly invited to come along and help with the celebrations on Saturday February 3. Hosted by Aelfgythe Border Morris, from Alvechurch, a Wassail is a mid-winter celebration to “wake” the trees in an orchard and stir them into the process of producing a fine crop of fruit.

This year’s event will start at The Crown Inn, Withybed, at 5pm, with some dancing, while musketeers from Sir John Bright’s Regiment of Foote will be talking to the public about the English Civil War Society and re-enactment skirmishes.

At approximately 6.30pm, flaming torches will be lit and the procession will set off along Withybed Lane, George Road and Latimer Road en route to The Weighbridge Pub where the Wassail will be held. 

Usually the focus is on the largest tree in the orchard, but Aelfgythe always wassail the smallest tree, which we planted some years ago in memory of Robin Walden. Robin lived on a narrowboat at the Alvechurch Marina, and was a great supporter of Aelfgythe.

The choir will start the actual Wassail with a traditional song, a poem written by Jennie Diplock (forewoman of Aelfgythe) will be read out, toast will be hung in the branches of the fruit trees and cider tipped on to the roots of the trees to remind them that we need a good crop come harvest time. 

The musketeers will also be firing a mixture of volleys and independent shot to add to the noise, and there will be many shouts of “Waes Hael” (meaning Good Health, or Live Well) to which the traditional response is “Drink Hael” (Drink Well). Alvechurch Community Choir will then close the proceedings with another song. 

Villagers are invited to join in with the evening, not only to watch the proceedings but also as part of the procession. Bring along lanterns or torches to light the way, or you could carry one of Aelfgythe’s lanterns.

Aelfgythe will be wearing small robins in their hats in memory of Robin Walden, and it would be nice to see people doing the same, so perhaps you could “borrow” one from your Christmas tree decorations!

Remember to bring along whistles, football rattles, drums or anything that will make a noise so that at the right point in the celebrations we can really wake the trees up! 

From all of us at Aelfgythe Border Morris – Waes Hael!

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