Jan 24, 2019
Mayor Jabba Riaz

Mayor’s Week: 18 – 24 January 2019

Now if you didn’t think things could get more whacky after such infamous incidents as the Mystery Clown, Flamingo bombing, and the Flipping Great – all events that we have had the pleasure – or not – to have witnessed in the faithful city, then read on!

Things got really tasty over the weekend when I was invited to the inaugural Wassail at Duck Brook community orchard.  An event surely destined for the illustrious Worcester News Hall of Fame of the weird and wonderful!

Wassail, you may say?

The dictionary definition of Wassailing is:  English ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year.

Well with intrigue and curiosity I turned up on a wet, cold, freezing Saturday evening at the former donkey sanctuary at Duck Brook, along with a number of other fanatical Wassailers.  They were keen as mustard to take part in the first Wassail the city has staged for decades. As it transpired, my initial trepidation turned into relaxation and then to sheer amazement at the events that unfolded before my eyes. Oh, how I wish the whole city were there to see this spectacle.

It was a night never to forget! It turned out to be a quintessentially quirky, eccentrically English custom, that was executed in a monty pythonesque and Fawlty Towers- like manner.

We had zealous morris dancers performing frantically, the public chasing away spirits in a fire lantern procession, followed by a trio of poems sung to disband demons, which then flowed naturally as you would expect into hanging toast on a tree.  The piece de resistance was a completely bonkers short play that depicted a Norman King killing a Saracen, the dead Saracen then rising like a phoenix from its ashes to emerge as Santa Claus. (Historians, please take this with a pinch of salt; revisionists wallow in your butchering!)

We do things well in Worcester and always add our own special touch.  Well done to the organisers for pulling off one of the most extraordinary events this city has seen – long may it live!

Next year’s Wassail is likely to draw Glastonbury-proportioned crowds, so get it in your diaries now!  It was a great evening to cheer up a wet, miserable and cold January. Stay safe and have a great weekend!

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