On Monday, we went to the Orange Peel Morris annual Wassailing at Spirit Tree Cidery, Ontario.
It was a beautiful clear day, and got clearer and less cloudy as the day went on. The wassailers sang the Carhampton Wassail Song to awaken the trees, we dipped toast in cider and hung it on the branches, and there was lots of Morris dancing. I had a go and joined in with a dance called Tinner’s Rabbit.
Wassailing is an ancient Indo-European tradition; according to JG Frazer, it’s also done to awaken the spirits of the durian trees.
There’s quite a lot of apple tree wassailing that happens in England, some of it a survival of old customs, and some of it a revival.
Given that the spring is later here, Orange Peel Morris do their wassailing in February instead of January. That makes sense. As you can see from the pictures, it’s definitely still winter. And Border Morris tattercoats look great in the snow.