Wassailing . . . in Hackney???

Since 2011 a group has been wassailing the fruit trees in the community orchards of Hackney

A Date For Your Diary

The 2019 Hackney Wassail will be on Sunday 13th January 2019. Come back and check the details nearer the time or subscribe to our mailing list for more news as it happens.

Wassailing in Hackney. A pre-Christian traditional ceremony held on the old 12th night of 17 January and stemming from an Anglo-Saxon pagan ritual visiting the apple trees and leaving them libations of cider and cider soaked toast to encourage their fertility next year.


Calling all Hackney based Wassailing Wannabes!

If you're a little unacquainted with the concept of Wassailing, don't worry, it's not a weird insult, and we're not asking you to join a cult.

Wassailing refers to an old school tradition, somewhere between a ramble and a harvest ritual. Wassail or 'was hael' means 'be well'. In times past, people sang and drank to the health of their fruit trees to ensure a good harvest, usually on the old 12th night.

Wassailers walked from one orchard to the next, circling the 'king' tree, singing traditional wassail songs. Toast soaked in cider from a special wassail cup was put in the tree's branches. This gift represents the fruit the tree bore the previous year, given to the spirits of the tree in the form of robins.

How can you join the Hackney Wassail?

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a Wassailing-virgin, the more the merrier for this fun Sunday activity.

As you may have guessed, orchards are pretty sparse in Hackney, so you'll be making do with the community orchards in our urban parks! The Hackney Wassail doesn't include a traditional bonfire, but there will be plenty of fun, jolliness and singing to keep you warm!

Come for the whole wassail, or join at one of the orchards.