Terhune Orchards’ is set to host its annual Wassailing Party Jan. 26.
The party, which celebrates the orchard’s trees, follows a longtime British tradition.
Wassailing is an ancient tradition from the cider-making regions of southern and western England. It is usually held on Twelfth Night. People would gather in the apple orchard and perform rituals to drive away evil spirits and ensure a successful apple crop for the next year.
The tree’s health was toasted with warm cider, passed in a bucket. The custom was especially important during a period when laborer’s wages were partially paid in hard apple cider. Landlords needed a strong apple crop to attract good workers. Wassailing was meant to keep the tree safe from evil spirits until the next year’s apples appeared.
Festivities include dancing and singing by the Handsome Molly Dancers and reenactments of traditional old English rituals. Party-goers join in with chanting and music making, and hanging gifts of cider-soaked bread in the apple tree branches while chanting words of praise for the new year.
Spice Punch is set to provide live music. The group will perform traditional music using violins and flutes all afternoon in the farm store.
Free refreshments include hot cider and homemade cider donuts. Visitors can warm themselves next to a campfire and roast marshmallows.
The winery tasting room will be open and be serving hot mulled wine and snacks.
The party is free and open to the public.
The Wassailing Party is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Jan 26 at Terhune Orchards’, 330 Cold Soil Road, Lawrence.
More information is online at terhuneorchards.com.