Somerset Architects celebrate with traditional wassail
— 30 Jan 2024
On Friday, intrepid members of our Taunton office visited Sheppy’s Cider Farm for their annual wassailing ceremony. Wassailing is an Anglo-Saxon, West Country tradition to bless the cider trees and ensure a good harvest. The evening was a celebration of traditional song, dancing and, of course, the all-important ceremony to bless the apple trees.
Wassail gets its name from the old English term ‘waes hael’ meaning ‘be well’ which was shouted like a toast with the reply ‘drinc hael’ meaning ‘drink and be healthy’ at festivities in the darkest days of January. There are several types of wassailing tradition (most involving hot spiced alcohol) but the important one for cider-makers is blessing the apple trees.
The torch-light procession through Sheppy’s orchards involved plenty of loud singing and the shaking of sticks and rattles to wake the trees up from their winter sleep. The JRA team made sure we sang loud enough to scare away evil and wish the trees good health for a bountiful harvest this year!