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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Wassailing comes to Bradford

The ancient English tradition of wassailing comes to Bradford and all are invited. Wassailing is an old custom to bless orchards to help ensure a good harvest in the coming year and events to celebrate this will be held on Sunday 29 January in Bowling Park.

Meet at Bowling Park Lodge at 5pm for a mini lantern parade in the woods, following the Goldilocks trail with Cecil Green Arts and Better Place. This activity is suitable for smaller children.

Families are then invited to gather at the Bowling Community Orchard from 7pm for the Bowling Wassail. The Wassail King will lead people to the Jupiter apple tree for warm apple juice, songs, blessing of the trees and waking of the spirits, and hear an Imbolc Story (based around a pastoral festival celebrated by ancient Celts to mark the beginning of spring.) This event is presented by Fruitworks Co op and Better Place.

In the run up to the mini lantern parade there will be workshops at Bolling Hall for children aged 0-4 years old on 15 and 22 January from 1pm to 3pm. Join Cecil Green Arts artist and Bradford Museums and Galleries volunteer Aamta Tul-Waheed to decorate your own lantern, take part in a sing-along and go foraging in the grounds of the Bradford Council-run museum.

The workshops are free and for children 0-4, places are limited to book call 01274 431826, email bollinghall@bradford.gov.uk or pop into the museum and book at reception.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We’re delighted that this fascinating and ancient tradition is taking place in the Community Orchard at Bowling Park. The workshops and the mini lantern parade will be a lovely activity for younger children to join in with and for older children and adults the traditional wassailing ceremony will are set to provide a fun and interesting experience to help usher in hope for the coming Spring.”

Katie Jones, from Cecil Green Arts, said: “Cecil Green Arts are pleased to be working with Better Place and Fruitworks to bring families some light at one of the darkest points of winter in a beautiful woodland setting.”

All the events are free and are coordinated by Fruit Works Co-Operative with Better Place Bradford, Bradford Environmental Educational Service, the Council’s Museums and Galleries Service and Cecil Green Arts. It is supported by Better Start Bradford, Bradford Trident, The National Lottery Community Fund, Bradford Council’s Parks Department and Bradford 2025.

Bolling Hall Museum is also a warm space. Free tea, coffee, hot chocolate and soup will be available.

For more information visit the Bradford Museums and Galleries website www.bradfordmuseums.org.

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