JAN 01] ELEPHANT UP A POLE NEWS
Elephants Go Up An Apple Tree For Tradition's Sake
city centre will be full of Elephants this Saturday as a tradition
dating back hundreds of years is played out.
dancers from all over the country will be coming to the city for
an annual Wassail organised by Coventry side Elephant Up A Pole.
ELEPHANT UP A POLE AT A PREVIOUS WASSAIL AT RYTON ORGANIC GARDENS
will be dancing around the city centre on Saturday 20 January
between 10.30am and 12.30pm at Shelton Square, the Broadgate
canopy, outside the Herbert Art Gallery and at the fountain in The
to 100 dancers will then gather in the cathedral ruins at 2.30pm
for more dancing in a variety of traditional Morris styles.
action will then resume the next day in Wolston before a
traditional wassailing ceremony is held at Ryton Organic Gardens.
Morris sides, including teams from Kenilworth, Solihull,
Northamptonshire , Kent and Essex will gather for the wassailing
of an old apple tree to encourage it to produce a good crop of
fruit at 1.30pm.
of cider-soaked toast are lodged in the tree to attract robins to
the tree. The birds are said to be good spirits in disguise.
dance is then carried out around the tree by members of Elephant
Up A Pole and a shotgun is fired at the tree to ward off evil
spirits. Cider made from the tree's previous crop is then drunk.
Grimley, squire of Elephant Up A Pole, said:
wassail is held on the weekend closest to Old Twelfth Night on
17 January. It is a tradition that dates back centuries and was
revived in Coventry by Elephant Up A Pole nine years ago.
weekend is an excellent chance for different Morris sides to get
together from all over the country.
is quite a spectacle as there are several different styles of
Morris dancing all being performed in the same place.
well as dancing there is a lot of socialising and it is always a
brilliant time for all those who take part and the people
Up A Pole is a Border Morris side. They dance in rag tailcoats and
have their faces blackened out.
style originates from the Welsh Marches, where it evolved as a
winter tradition danced by men who were unemployed because there
was no work for them at that time of year.
danced for beer money and wore a disguise so no-one would