Here we come a-wassailing

DRUMMERS beat out a wild rhythm and the moon glistened in the night sky as scores of revellers held a Pagan wassailing festival on Saturday.

DRUMMERS beat out a wild rhythm and the moon glistened in the night sky as scores of revellers held a Pagan wassailing festival on Saturday.

Led by outlandish characters the Lord of Misrule and the Green Man, villagers gathered at the community orchard at Kenninghall for an ancient ceremony to honour the fruit trees and bring about a bumper crop this year.

Gifts and lanterns were hung on an apple tree planted by local Scouts, as parish council chairman Steve Gordon ordered out the old year - in his guise as Green Man - and urged the gathering to toast the spring when new life comes creeping in.

Anne-Marie Clark, of Kenninghall Lands Trust, who organised the event, said the tradition dated back to pre-Celtic times.


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'They thought that every living thing was sacred, even the rocks and the stones. Wassail means 'be of good health' so you are wishing everyone good health including the trees.'

Wassailing has a strong connection with fruit growing areas, and Norfolk was

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famed for its cider-making industry, with a number of small producers still operating in the area including the village itself.

'We chose a Green Man because it's great for getting across the ecology and the environment which is second nature to Kenninghall. We were the first village in Norfolk to sign up to the CRed (carbon reduction) scheme so we are very aware,' Mrs Clark explained.

'This was our fourth wassailing and the reason it started is we had planted an orchard and we wanted some way of celebrating with the community.'

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