Wassail means good health, and wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of apple trees.

The purpose of wassailing, which dates from the middle ages, was to awaken the cider apple trees and to scare away any ‘evil spirits’ to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the autumn.

The annual Abergavenny Orchard Wassail takes places on Saturday, January 20 at 3.30pm, and the Laurie Jones Community Orchard which can be found at the end of Mill Street.

The wassail is an inclusive, community celebration and will involve music, food, apple juice and cider made from orchard apples collected and pressed at the Abergavenny Transition Town apple pressing day in October last year.

There will be a procession around the orchard, involving music and as much noise as possible to scare away the ‘spirits’! And a traditional wassail ceremony in which a piece of toast soaked in cider will be placed in one of the trees and cider will be poured onto the roots.

“Everyone is welcome to attend and bring their own tankard and mugs to enjoy the cider and apple juice. People are also encouraged to bring musical instruments, things to bang to make lots of noise, and to dress up in colourful clothes. We hope to see you there!” said one of the organisers, Simon Bilsblrough