The new year is Wassail time, an ancient folk tradition which marks the start of the agricultural year in much the same way that the Harvest Festival mark it's end. A Wassail is a warm social gathering in the chilly depth of Winter, usually in an orchard, and often accompanied by singing, dancing, and maybe a glass or two of cider. Some Wassails are quite grand, well supported by locals and visitors alike. The Broome Farm Wassail is one such event, and many cider farms have revived the tradition in recent years not only in the traditional cidermaking areas, but even as far north as Louth in Lincolnshire where the Skidbrooke Cyder Co hold a successful Wassail in their own orchard.
Northamptonshire has it's own Wassail, a small and intimate affair organised by South Court Environmental in the old Bramley Apple orchards of Wilsons' Orchard:
A list of some other Wassail's can be found on the Common Ground website: 2009 Wassails
Saturday 3rd January 2008 - Wassailing the Apple Trees at Wilsons' Orchard. 4.00-6.00pm
Apple Cause event: Celebrate old Christmas Day by Wassailing the Apple Trees. This old magic makes sure they bear well in 2009. Eat potatoes hot from the bonfire and drink spicy punch. Wrap up against the weather, including suitable footwear. Oh – and bring a torch.