Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Jan 17th: Twelfth Night, Old style

This is traditionally the time to wassail your apple trees, to encourage them to bear a good crop in the coming year. This is still prevalent today and has been revived in many country areas.
The owner of the orchard, along with friends,  gather in the orchard singing, firing shotguns into the branches and beating the trunks with sticks to drive out the evil spirits to ensure a good crop for the coming year.
Cider is drunk from the wassailing bowl which contains hot spiced cider, lumps of apple and pieces of toast.
The remains from the bowl is poured over the roots as an offering to the Apple Tree Man, and the cider soaked toast is placed in the forks of the trees.

‘Old Apple Tree we wassail thee, and happily thou wilt bear,
For the Lord knows where we shall be,
Till apples another year’

The oldest tree in the orchard is inhabited by the Apple Tree Man, who is the guardian of the orchard. To honour him the last few apples must be left for him and the pixies; this custom is called griggling, pixy hoarding and cullpixying.
 The apple symbolises fruitfulness, prosperity,  and rejuvenation and the wood is still seen as a symbol of security. Beware of entering an apple orchard as the trees are inhabited by faeries and pixies, so do not sit beneath a tree and fall asleep or you will fall under a faerie enchantment. If you wish to call upon the faeries summon them with a apple wood wand; and eating an enchanted apple will allow you to enter the faerie realm. You can burn the bark as an offering to the faeries on midsummer night.
from 'Faerie Flora'

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