Villagers gather to perform ancient wassail in hope of fruitful year ahead

PUBLISHED: 08:25 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 22 January 2019

Fiddle player, Clare Wilde warms up before leading the music during the ceremony. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Fiddle player, Clare Wilde warms up before leading the music during the ceremony. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Copyright © 2019 Celia Bartlett Photography. All rights reserved.

The ancient, pagan tradition of wassail, singing and making music and noise to ward off evil spirits took place at the Conservation Garden at Clarance House, Thaxted for the fourth year.

Thaxted Wassailing team prepare the mulled cider before the ceremony, fronted by Annie Harding (in the raggy coat) and MC. Daniel Fox (in the red smock). Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYThaxted Wassailing team prepare the mulled cider before the ceremony, fronted by Annie Harding (in the raggy coat) and MC. Daniel Fox (in the red smock). Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

On Saturday, January 12, some 180 people enjoyed mulded cider and apple juice and took part in a ceremony to bless the trees.

The musicians included fiddler, Clare Wilde, with Sue Collins on the small accordion, Carol Wilkinson on the concertina and two guitarists, Mike Wilkinson and Melvyn Willin.

Wassail songs were sung and also the carol, The Holly and the Ivy.

The master of ceremonies was Daniel Fox who explained the traditions behind the Wassail and told a story.

Shining a light on wassailing. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYShining a light on wassailing. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

One of the organisers, Anne Harding said: “Everyone seemed to enjoy it. There were lots of children there, which is lovely because this is something for the little ones to remember and think about in future years. We processes round the orchard and made a lot of noise to ward off the bad spirits.”

The garden will be open, free, to the public from March.

Felix (6) Nellie (8) Lily (9) and Monty (6) with their toast and noise-making utensils at the Thaxted wassail. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYFelix (6) Nellie (8) Lily (9) and Monty (6) with their toast and noise-making utensils at the Thaxted wassail. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Behind the green face, Clare Wilde, fiddle player. The green represents the cycle of growth and rebirth each spring. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYBehind the green face, Clare Wilde, fiddle player. The green represents the cycle of growth and rebirth each spring. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Wassailers, wrapped up for the January weather, join in with the wassailing songs, whilst the youngsters practice their noise-making skills on the pots and pans. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYWassailers, wrapped up for the January weather, join in with the wassailing songs, whilst the youngsters practice their noise-making skills on the pots and pans. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

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