Hundreds gather for Wassail events

PUBLISHED: 13:39 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

A UNIQUE West Country tradition was celebrated by all.

A UNIQUE West Country tradition was celebrated by all.

Family, friends and school children united across the region to celebrate the annual Wassail ceremony.

The tradition dates back to early Pagan times, when rural communities would perform ceremonies in January to encourage a healthy apple harvest.

Historical acts were re-created by students from Sandford Primary School at Thatchers cider company in Station Road, Sandford.

Pupils crowned the Wassail king and queen and enjoyed a procession led by the Green Man.

Another bizarre tradition involved hanging a of piece toast in the apple trees to attract the good spirits and banging pots and pans to ward off the evil spirits.

The Mendip Morris Men also took park in the ceremony and danced for the children.

Pupils from Churchill Primary School also relished the opportunity to celebrate the tradition.

A cider fuelled evening complete with bonfire to celebrate the age old custom took place at the Orchard Barns in Rooksbridge.

Crowds of people gathered for the event and were treated to live music from The Cherry Pickers and an accordion musician.

A cider bar and a barbecue were on offer and money raised is set to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital and the village's Lights for Life charity.

Residents of Brent Knoll enjoyed a pig roast washed down with mulled cider while listening to The Fallen Apples band at the village's Wassail event.

The Chalice Morris Men also performed and many took advantage of the free cider samples.

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