In Full . . .
Live well. . . drink well!
Posted on February 27 2017 at 1:19:22
Pam Morley, of Aelfgythe Border Morris, reports on the group’s annual Wassail.
Aelfgythe Border Morris were joined by Alvechurch Morris, the Banda Sem Nome samba band, and Black Adder Morris from Stirchley, for a traditional Wassail.
The event got off to a great start at The Crown Inn, Withybed, with exciting drumming from Banda Sem Nome and dancing from each side, before a torchlight procession was held to The Weighbridge pub for the actual wassail.
Wassail (or Waes Hael) can mean either the sharing of an alcoholic drink from a wassail cup, or a midwinter gathering in an orchard to “wake the trees up”, frighten away evil spirits and look forward to a good crop of fruit.
This involves pouring cider on the roots of some of the trees, hanging toast in the branches of the trees to encourage birds to feed (in the hope that they will continue to feed on pests that may damage the trees), and making a lot of noise!
The usual cry is “Wassail” (or live well) and the expected response is “Drink hael!” meaning “drink well”.
Aelfgythe’s wassail followed this pattern, and we also listened to Jennie Diplock reading her wassail poem which she wrote especially for the event. After the wassail was over each side danced again, and the evening ended with some rousing singing led by the Aelfgythe musicians.
This was a fantastic evening, and one where the support of the village community was very much appreciated. Thanks to Charlie Simmons who helped to construct the torches, and Martyn Read, Dave Andrews and Bryan Harries for their help on the day.
Plans are already being made for next year’s wassail, and we hope to involve more groups from the village and possibly further afield.
Aelfgythe Border Morris are keen to welcome new members, either dancers or musicians, and if you would like to come along for a “taster” evening then please get in touch – see our entry in the dance section of What’s On for contact details.
Wassail to you all from Aelfgythe!
Photo by Adrian Bigland – see more on our Facebook page