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Morris dancers at the Wassailing event

Over 250 came for a traditional Wassail at Waltham Abbey Gardens

Release date: 

15 January 2024

The warmth of community spirt and joy could be felt by all at Saturday’s Wassailing event at Waltham Abbey Gardens.

Over 250 local residents and visitors from further afield came together to honour the old English tradition of blessing the apple trees in the hope of a fruitful harvest.

The weather was kind and the entertainment was plentiful, ensuring everyone had a great time. Highlights included the Chingford Morris Men, the u3a choir, traditional fete games, the return of the Best Decorated Hat Competition, and, to keep the chill off, a bonfire along with hot food and drinks. This year saw the introduction of a new element, the lighting of the trees, creating a magical atmosphere, with thanks to Mark Boyce of Dark Origins Ltd. Visitors also got the opportunity to write their wishes for nature on the previous year’s Green Flag.

As usual, the evening culminated with a traditional Wassail blessing. The crowd set about making a racket with pots, pans, bells and whistles to scare off evil spirits and ‘wake’ the apple trees in the orchard ahead of the coming year.

Ranger Amy Lewis reflects on this year’s popular event, “This event grows and grows each year, thanks to the enthusiastic support of the local community and wider visitors alike. The sense of warmth and happiness at this year’s event was a joy to be part of. Thanks to all those who attended.


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