Wassailing trees at Rye

THE old Sussex tradition of wassailing apple trees will be upheld at the Royal Oak, Rye Foreign, on Saturday night.

The pub has hosted a wassailing ceremony for a number of years now and people can expect an evening of morris dancing, traditional songs and a Sussex Mummers play.

Apple trees were wassailed to scare away evil spirits and encourage a healthy crop the following autumn.

The ceremony involves dousing the roots and branches of the tree with cider and leaving an offering of bread for the birds. Loud bangs are set off, to wake the tree, and a bowl of hot-spiced cider is passed among the celebrants.

There will be dancing from Winter Warmers Border Morris side and a performance by Hollington Tipteerers.

There will also be traditional singing, including old wassail songs.

The evening gets underway at 6.30pm. The Royal Oak is between Rye and Peasmarsh.