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Wassail at Bourne's community orchard attracts a crowd of people to enjoy morris dancing and historic folk customs




A community orchard was looking ‘magical and pretty’ as evil spirits were warded off for another year and thanks was given for a good harvest.

Saucepans were banged, dancers from Bourne Borderers Morris performed and toast was hung on trees as the wassailing took place in the community orchard at Bourne Wood on Saturday evening.

It began with a traditional morris dance before ‘Apple Tree Wassail’ was sung and people were led to the orchard by wassail queen Holly Redman and princess Felicity Redman for the main event.

The Bourne Borderers performed morris dances
The Bourne Borderers performed morris dances

The custom takes place in January each year to encourage a good apple harvest by awakening the trees and giving thanks for the previous year’s harvest.

Noise is said to scare off the evil spirits while the toast dipped in cider attracts the robins which are seen as the guardians of the orchard and good spirits of the trees.

Cider is also poured around the base of the tree to encourage it to bear fruit.

Toast dipped in cider and hung from the apple trees attracts robins
Toast dipped in cider and hung from the apple trees attracts robins

The evening ended with a mummers' play, a traditional folk performance.

Secretary of the Friends of Bourne Wood, Sarah Roberts, said: “It went very well and about 100 people came along, which seemed more than last year when the rain put people off.

“This year it was a bit blowy but the rain stayed away.

“The wassailing makes for a jolly afternoon on a cool January day.

“We decorated the orchard with some lights and it looked so magical and pretty as you walked around.”

Sarah thanked the Bourne Borderers for performing and the volunteers who helped out.

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