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
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.
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 so barren women would roll on the ground in
orchards in an effort to conceive, they also believed that wearing pieces
of bark pinned to their clothes would bring them a child, and if it
was good year for apples then they could expect to have twins.
The main tradition of the orchard is the custom of wassailing the apple trees
during the winter months. 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’