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Wassail at a The Old Cheese Factory
Sunday 27th August 2017





An afternoon of mumbo jumbo and hullabaloo to toast the cider gods, chase off evil spirits, and wake up the apple trees and ensure a good harvest.

Pagan chants and an exorcism of spirits will take place at the Old Cheese Factoryon Sunday 28th August. It is all part of a fun day of celebration centered on the toasting of the humble apple tree to encourage a plentiful harvest in the autumn.

Wassailing is the practice of thanking or appeasing the deity of the apple trees. The ritual retains something of the nature of sacrament despite its jollification. To us, it is a way to champion our providers, the apple trees, and showcasing their importants to the community, the landscape and to our cider business.

Our celebrations include the lighting of the Ashen Faggot. This custom is thought to have come from Scandinavia. Large bonfires were set alight at the feast of ‘joul’ (Yule) in honour of Thor. The faggot is placed on a fire that had been lit with the remnants of the previous years faggot. Revellers then gather around the fire to watch it burn. Unmarried maidens can chose one of the green bands as it is believed that the maden who chooses the first band to ignite and break will be the next to get married.

Wassail involves much singing and dancing culminating in a procession to the old apple tree where pieces of cider soaked toast are placed in the fork of the designated tree for the robins or guardian spirits of the tree. The tree is toasted with cider and any remainder is thrown into the branches. These offerings are accompanied by a wassail song lead by the Braidwood Cantors.

Here’s to the, old apple tree.
May’st thou bud, may’st they blow,
May’st thou bear apples now!
Hats full, caps full!
And my pockets full, too! Hazza!

The ceremony is concluded with a great deal of noise, horns are sounded, pots and trays are beaten with sticks, and a shot is fired over the tree to wake up the trees. Please bring you instriments of noise TO JOIN IN!

Food is served from noon, with entertainment throughout the afternoon, culminating with the wassail ceremony around 3.30pm.

© Sully Consultants Pty Ltd
The Old Cheese Factory, 92 Sawyers Ridge Road, Reidsdale, NSW 2622.