Members of Yeovil & South Somerset LETS went Wassailing in a private Crewkerne orchard on Twelfth Night. The orchard visiting Wassail, which is believed to date back to Medieval times, included toasting the fruit trees health in the hope of a good harvest and making a lot of noise to scare away any negative energies and awaken the apple trees. Wassailing ceremonies in orchards vary from place to place. They were once a popular custom across the cider producing counties of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

The original Twelfth Night in the Julian calendar was January 17th but was changed in the Gregorian calendar to January 6th, which coincides with the Christian Feast of the Epiphany. LETS members toasted the health of the apple trees with mulled cider and banged pots and pans to awaken the trees and encourage growth for a good crop of apples in the Autumn. Group members John and Gail Coleshill played the euphonium and bass drum as they led a procession around the orchard, singing a traditional Somerset Wassail song, which began ‘Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green’ and included a chorus wishing everyone a happy new year.

Group members enjoyed a supper of vegetable curry with pitta bread, apple cake and glasses of mulled cider or spiced apple juice back in the mill house after the Wassailing ceremony. LETS stands for Local Exchange and Trading System. The event cost members seven scrumpies each – non-monetary currency and donations of a £1 each towards the food/drink ingredients. It was hosted by the local LETS group new members secretary Zena Morgan and Angie Blackmore. On Thursday the LETS group met up again in Crewkerne for coffee and to meet prospective new members in the cafe area at the Antiques Bazaar. For more information on joining the local LETS group, please email zenam1@hotmail.co.uk

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