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Jersey's cider orchards to be blessed in pagan ceremony

Credit: Picture by: Mike Groll / AP/Press Association Images

Jersey's cider orchards will be blessed today in a pagan ceremony dating back to the medieval times.

The National Trust and Jersey Heritage have organised the event which involves drinking hot mulled cider, banging pots and pans to ward of evil spirits, singing, dancing and hanging cider-soaked toast from apple trees.

The tradition is called 'Wassailing' and dates back centuries in England, when, in the dead of winter, villagers would stage ceremonies in the hopes of ensuring a good cider apple harvest the following year.

The name comes from the Old English salute 'Waes Hail', first used as a simple greeting.

The event will take place at Hamptonne Country Life Museum at 12pm. After the ceremony bread and cheese will be served in the Cider barn.

Morris dancing will take place at The Elms in St Mary at 2.30pm.

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