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- Wassail Event
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Sunday 16th January 2011, 3pm – 5pm
Chiswick House and Gardens Trust is hosting a celebration of Wassail, in partnership with Abundance London.
Traditionally, Wassail celebrations took place around 17th January (old Twelfth Night) – toasting apple trees in orchards to encourage them to produce a plentiful harvest later in the year. Wassail is from the Anglo Saxon ‘Waes Hael’ – meaning ‘to be healthy!’ We are celebrating the planting of over 200 new fruit trees in the Walled Gardens at Chiswick House.
Cider is offered to one of the largest or most prolific apple trees in the orchard, being poured over its roots. Pieces of cider-soaked toast are placed amongst the branches for the birds, guardian spirits of the tree. Our apple trees are still very small; the only mature tree is an ancient mulberry, so he will form the focus of our celebrations.
The Walled Gardens will open at 3pm. The wassail ceremony will be at 4pm. There will be a bonfire, sparklers and ribbons and garlands to decorate the (still very small) trees.
Visitors are encouraged to bring musical instruments and loud voices and we plan to sing, dance and make merry around our bonfire! We hope that there will also be local music groups (to be confirmed).
Company of Cooks from Chiswick House Café will be selling traditional organic cider and fruit juice (some traditionally mulled) as well as sandwiches and cakes.
Entry (free) from the A4 car park gate. The event finishes at 5pm – when the main gardens will be locked.
Exit will therefore only be through the A4 car park gate – please bear this in mind when making your arrangements.