Wassail/ Twelfth Night / Plough Monday

I’ve been very bad about the Parish News recently – I have stuff to tell you but not the time to do it. Hopefully I’ll get round to it soon, but in the meanwhile I need to mention three not-terribly-old but very traditional things that are happening this weekend.

Firstly Wassail at the East Greenwich Pleasaunce. If you’ve been following the new fruit trees in the park, planted by the Friends, you may already know about it, but if you don’t mind a bit of (very light) work it’s open to all.

Wassailing traditionally involves hailing fruit trees – waking them up ready for the new season and scaring away evil spirits, and this seems to be a lovely way of welcoming the trees properly. I’m not sure they’re having a Wassail King and Queen but there’s plenty else going on. They’re mulching the trees with woodchip at 11.30am on Sunday  6th Jan, then from midday, it’s more fun – music, stories, poems and locally-pressed cider from Orchard Press in Charlton.  If cider’s not your bag, then Lizzie at Pistacchios cafe will be doing all the usual hot drinks and food, plus mulled wine.

Of course Twelfth Night is actually the evening of the 5th of January (I think it has something to do with the day starting at dawn in the medieval calendar) but the Lion’s Part will be at Bankside as usual for the Twelfth Night Celebrations at the Globe from 2.45pm. If that doesn’t sound very ‘Greenwich,’ then my tenuous link to it is Fowler’s Molly, local Morris dancers who will be dancing at the George Inn when the event reaches there – probably about 3.30pm. If you’ve not experienced it, it’s well worth wrapping up and going along. I’m a big fan of the storytelling in the George afterwards.

If making it all the way into London Bridge just seems that little bit too much like hard work, Fowlers Molly will be celebrating Plough Monday much more locally, starting at the Ashburnham Arms, Ashburnham Place, meeting from 7.30pm to dance at around 8pm, moving on to the Morden Arms (while it’s still around, though I understand planning permission for flats there has now been refused) to dance around 8.45pm. They finish at the Tolly (Richard I), Royal Hill dancing around 9.30pm.

3 Comments to “Wassail/ Twelfth Night / Plough Monday”

  1. IanVisits says:

    “(I think it has something to do with the day starting at dawn in the medieval calendar)”

    It follows the old Jewish custom that the date changed at sunset – so the 6th Jan would actually start at sunset on the 5th Jan.

    Not sure when that changed to midnight – blame the railways, they seem responsible for most time based changes ;)

  2. Capability Bowes says:

    I think technically one can only wassail an apple tree.

  3. Gavin says:

    Hi Phantom,

    The trees were actually planted by an orchard group that grew out of Transition Westcombe rather than the Friends, though some of us are Friends and it’s been a great co-operation between the orchard group, the Friends, Greenwich Council and the London Orchard Project. The event was a wonderful success, and you can see photos and video at https://www.facebook.com/events/443419475721364/

    PS. To Capability Bowes – happily, traditions evolve, so we also wassailed the plums and pears, and to our relief the sky didn’t fall in!