Yesterday we went to the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival.
It is a three day event of music, food, drink, dance and storytelling. The festival had opened on Friday with the burning of a giant straw man. The framework was still overlooking the paddocks.
Some people dressed up in top hats or full “yule” finery. Adults and kids had faces painted.
People stood around the huge bonfire, and metal drums with logs burning inside them.
Even though it was muddy underfoot, it was a happy, friendly atmosphere. There was live music on different stages, indoors and out. We sat on straw bales and listened to the “Storytelling Slam”, a competition where various people stood and told a story in less than seven minutes. A very creative mix of spoken words. And there were Morris Dancers, not something I expected to see in Australia.
The food stalls were varied, selling delicious dishes. Toffee apples were a popular choice amongst the kids. As the event is hosted by third generation cider makes “Willie Smith”, various alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks were available. Hot mulled cider was my favourite.
The event is also a “wassail”.
Wassailing is an old English tradition that dates back to the 1500’s, a ceremony to bless the apple trees to ensure a fruitful crop in the coming season. Bread is placed in the trees to entice birds. Cider is poured on the roots. And the following chant is sung to the trees.
A procession wove through the crowd before everyone joined in wassailing five apple trees in turn, getting more enthusiastic with each rendition.
This was another new experience for us, but what a unique fun day.