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Welsh Perry and Cider Society

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Traditional Wassail Will Welcome 2012 Crops

Newport, United Kingdom, January 15, 2012 --( A traditional wassail will bid welcome and good health to 2012 apple and pear crops this month when the Welsh Perry and Cider Society host the first public event of the year at Raglan Cider Mill, Monmouthshire.

On 28th January, the annual event refers to a ceremony that involves singing and drinking to the health of trees in the hopes that they thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the autumn.

Joining the Welsh Perry and Cider Society in their celebrations are the Widders, Chepstow based Morris dancers who are vital to the tradition of wassailing. They will lead the festivities in the traditional singing and dancing that takes place, and WPCS."

Ceremonies may differ from county to county, but usually a Wassail Queen is lifted into the apple tree where she will place toast soaked in cider as a gift to the tree spirits. This also encourages the birds to come and eat the insects from the tree.

Cider is also poured over the roots of the tree and an incantation recited. A gun is often shot after the dance to frighten off the evil spirits. This is all followed with much singing, dancing, cider drinking and merriment.

Cressida Slater, Development Officer of the Welsh Perry and Cider Society said: “The wassail is traditionally a great way to get the whole community involved in the cider making for the following season. It is a great custom that has been celebrated for centuries, and the Welsh Perry and Cider Society encourage celebrating it every year.

“Keeping up with tradition is highly significant in the cider trade, as most small scale cider producers still use very traditional methods to make their cider. It is also very important to introduce local communities to locally produced ciders and perries, and share the customs that accompany these artisan drinks.

“This year we will be holding the event at Raglan Cider Mill’s new cider bar at Tynewydd Farm, Llanarth, Nr. Abergavenny, and home of the WPCS museum orchard of Welsh varieties. The Wassail is the first event at South Wales’ only dedicated cider bar. On arrival, guests will be welcomed with a glass of hot wassail, a spiced mulled cider, and there will be food available throughout the evening.”

The WPCS Wassail on Saturday January 28th is kindly hosted by Raglan Cider Mill in their new cider bar at Tynewydd Farm, Llanarth. Entry to the event will be charged at £3 for members and £4 for non-members, to include a glass of hot ‘Wassail’. Food will also be available. The event will start at 5.30pm and a cider bar will run throughout the evening. Tickets are available directly from the WPCS office (01495 240983) or from Sally Perks at Raglan Cider Mill (01600 780258).

Contact Information
Welsh Perry and Cider Society
Rachel Matthews

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