Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Magical Wassail under a frosty full moon
Here are some pictures from the Wassail last Saturday night at Middle Farm, in Sussex.
The Wassail is a traditional blessing of the apple trees to ensure a bountiful harvest in the coming year. The annual event at Middle Farm, organised by Hunters Moon Morris, takes place each January and draws a huge and enthusiastic crowd.
Although the ceremony is pagan in tone, it attracts people from all walks of life and faiths, from the nearby countryside, from towns such as Brighton and even from as far away as London.
It was a perfect night to be out in the apple orchards by a roaring bonfire, with a full moon in the clear night sky and the trees and ground glistening with frost.
But the beautiful wintry landscape was far too cold to want to stay outside for very long. After singing traditional wassail songs around the fire, everyone was happy to retreat to a warm barn where mulled cider and hot apple juice were on sale.
Morris dancing displays were followed by a barn dance that everyone could join in. Dancing and drinking went on late into the evening and a great time was had by all.
For more information see the Hunters Moon Morris website: www.huntersmoonmorris.co.uk/ or contact 01323 769848. Middle Farm is at Firle, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6LJ. For more information about Middle Farm, visit www.middlefarm.com/
To see my account of last year's Wassail, visit: www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/01/dancing-in-orchards.html
Exterior photography by Melanie Dymond Harper.