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The old English tradition of blessing apple trees in the hope of a fruitful harvest is alive, well and very popular, as a recent Ranger event proved.
More than 150 visitors attended the inaugural Wassailing event in Waltham Abbey Gardens on Saturday January 4.
Equipped with drums, whistles, pots, pans and anything else capable of making a noise, the assembled crowd set about making a racket to scare off evil spirits and ‘wake’ the apple trees in the orchard ahead of the coming year.
Guests enjoyed traditional folk music and Morris dancing against the backdrop of a roaring fire. They tucked into a hearty BBQ, washed down with mulled cider or apple juice ahead of the Wassail blessing.
They were also encouraged to contribute to ‘the wishing tree’ whereby they penned their wishes for the future regarding nature. Aspirations ranged from a desire for more trees and green spaces to less pollution.
North Ranger Amy Lewis, said, ‘‘I’ve always wanted to host a Wassailing event and was so pleased by the fantastic turnout. The event was a big success.’’