Here are a few ideas of what you could do with your community. Be inclusive and advertise in lots of ways so you have everyone from school kids to local businesses – from posters in launderettes and sheltered housing schemes to ads on local radio, in local paper and newsletters, as well as, of course, social media.
Blossom events are quite big in some areas – for example the Lyth Valley Damson Day in Cumbria. It’s in Japan, though, that blossom is really celebrated (sometimes in quite a naughty way) with Hanami festivals, when people hold picnics under the trees and celebrate fertility.
Apples begin to ripen in August with most ripening in September and October. The biggest orchard celebration date is 21st October, which is Apple Day in the UK. A great Apple Day celebration will include a ruthlessly competitive longest peel competition, apple bobbing, cider and juice and different local orchard fruit to taste, and some information on all the funny names from different apple varieties – Bloody Ploughman, Hog’s Snout, Tiger Cox, Slack Ma Girdle, Tinsley Quince…. The list is (nearly) endless. With a bigger budget or a bit of borrowing it’s great to do live juicing using a traditional apple crusher and press. Making ‘insect B & B’s’ to attract pollinators, getting in an apple expert to do apple identification and talks on orchard skills, local history, having an open fire, dancing, singing….
Free food and drink always brings in the punters! Don’t forget to celebrate pears and other orchard fruit.
The word wassail comes from “vas heil” believed to originate from the Norse language. It means ‘good health’ and relates to the English phrase ‘hale and hearty’ meaning well.
Wassailing is the activity of singing to orchard trees to wake them from their dormancy at the end of deepest winter. People bang pots and pans to make so much noise the trees are sure to wake up. An open fire is a bonus, as is hot mulled juice or cider. In some parts of the UK the word wassail is the name of the drink and may contain anything from toast to frothed egg. In Scotland the word Wassail describes the traditional pot the drink is made in. So, all ready….Wassail, Wassail all over the Town!
- Old Twelfth Night, which falls on the 17th January.
- Old Christmas eve 5th Jan
- 17th Jan
- Any full moon in Jan or Feb
Video with Amber Alferoff (2mins40sec)
Videography by Jason Gleeson