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Wassail 2016

Even the atrocious weather, with heavy downpours during the day and evening, couldn’t dampen the spirits of those wassailers who gathered in the Church Hall for the annual wassail celebration, organised by the Tavy & Tamar Apple Group.

Because of the weather and the condition of the orchard, where usually the main part of the celebrations take place, the whole evening was conducted indoors. The evening started with the arrival of the Spirit of the Apple, thinly disguised as Mary Sargeant in a magnificent costume, who explained the origin of the wassail and encouraged the audience to join in with a wassail song.

Once again, Dartmoor Border Morris gave a display of their dancing, before the Tavy Tars sang a couple of songs, prior to the Spirit producing a small apple tree in a pot. The traditional rites were performed around the tree as people attached small pieces of toast and the Spirit anointed the tree with cider to produce a bumper harvest in the autumn.

Everyone was then urged onto the floor, where the ladies formed a circle, with the men forming another circle outside them. Under the directions of the Spirit the two circles danced contra wise.

Hot pasties, hot apple juice and cider were passed round and enjoyed by the assembled audience, before the morris dancers returned to the floor and encouraged some of the audience to join in with a stick dance.

The Tavy Tars returned and sang a couple more cider-related songs, after which Peter Crozier, the Chairman of TTAG, announced the winners of the raffle. Rob Smith and Clive Charlton completed the wassail by singing ‘The Cider Is Low’ before everyone departed into a dry but chilly evening.

mary2 morris2 mary tree mary tree 2 tars circlles