ALVECHURCH’S very own Aelfgythe Border Morris are holding their annual traditional Wassail on Saturday (February 2).
A Wassail is a mid-winter celebration to ‘wake’ the trees in an orchard and stir them into the process of producing a fine crop of fruit.
This year’s Wassail will involve not just dancing with several Morris sides present, but will also include Alvechurch Community Choir who will sing traditional Wassail carols, plus a troop of musketeers from the English Civil War Society.
The event starts at The Crown Inn in Withybed Lane at 5pm with some dancing and where musketeers from Sir John Bright’s Regiment of Foote will gather to chat to people about the ECWS and re-enactment skirmishes.
Then at about 6.30pm the procession will form up with flaming torches to light the way through the village.
Leaving Withybed Lane and going via George Road and Latimer Road, the revellers will make their way to The Weighbridge Pub where the Wassail will be held.
Usually the focus is on the largest tree in the orchard, but Aelfgthe always wassail the smallest tree, which was planted some years ago in memory of Robin Walden.
Robin lived on a narrowboat at the Alvechurch Marina, and was a great supporter of Aelfgythe.
Here the choir will start the Wassail with a traditional song, a poem written by Jennie Diplock (forewoman of Aelfgythe) will be read out, toast will be hung in the branches of the fruit trees and cider tipped onto the roots of the trees to remind them that we need a good crop come harvest time.
The musketeers will also be firing a volley or two to add to the noise, and there will be many shouts of ‘Waes Hael’ meaning good health, or live well.
The Alvechurch Community Choir will then close the proceedings with another song.
Everyone is invited to join the event and they’re asked to bring along lanterns or torches to light the way.
Pam Morley of Aelfgythe said: “We will be wearing small robins in our hats in memory of Robin Walden, and it would be nice to see people doing the same, so perhaps you could ‘borrow’ one from your Christmas tree decorations!
“Remember to bring along whistles, football rattles, drums or anything that will make a noise so that at the right point in the celebrations we can really wake the trees up!”