Once again, on Friday 17th January, the Branscombe C of E Primary School held their annual 'Wassailing' celebrations. Led by this year’s Wassail king and queen, wearing coronets decorated with leaves, the school processed down to the orchard. There, they sang songs, including the school's own Wassailing anthem. Class 1 recited a traditional Devon wassailing chant, with actions. Class 2, in groups of three, then read some rhyming chants they had written themselves. Then, the assembled children banged pots, pans and other instruments to chase off any 'bad spirits' that might hinder the growth of a good harvest. This year's king and queen of the Wassail then completed the tradition of placing toast soaked in the Wassail cup by the base of the trees. Following these celebrations, the assembled group were invited to the Old Bakery to partake of a warming Wassail cup (a warm mixture of apple juice and spices) and delicious apple cakes, before returning to school for the end of the day.
Here are a few of the children’s rhymes:
Apple tree, apple tree, give me good fruits,
Lovely and juicy, crunchy or sweet.
Or I’ll chop off your branches and dig out your roots,
If you don’t give me something to eat!
Lovely, plump, purple plums,
Ready to ripen,
Fruits so sweet.
We’re here to ask for apples
And perfect pears
For us to EAT!
Seeds, seeds, give us trees
With branches strong and healthy.
Branches, branches, give us fruits,
We’ll give you cider for your roots.
Apples, apples, be juicy and sweet,
For us to eat as a healthy treat!
Apple trees, oh apple trees,
All lined up in threes.
Produce good fruit for us to eat.
And at the orchard we shall meet.
Apple tree, oh apple tree,
Good fruit we hope you guarantee,
If you don’t, we’ll give you a frown
And then we’ll come and chop you down!
Let’s go a-wassailing,
With pots, pans, cider and bread.
Let’s have a king and queen,
With garlands on their head.
And when all is said and done,
We’ll have a harvest and some fun.
Let’s go wassailing!
Ye fellow apple, bear good fruit
For pud, from apple to pear.
We’ll shoot and bang our pots
Unhelpful spirits for to scare.
We’ll have a celebration,
We’ll drink the Wassail cup.
On apple pie, cider and apple juice,
We have come here to sup!