Planting a new tree to symbolise revitalisation Photos: Mike Zenari
Local cider producer Ramborn held its first traditional wassailing event on Sunday evening in Born, bringing together around 100 people to take part in a bonfire-lit orchard ceremony to help usher in a good harvest in the year ahead.
After lighting torches at the cider centre, participants began a 10-minute procession to a nearby orchard, lit up with a few bonfires, where a cup of warm, mulled cider awaited them. CEO Carlo Hein kicked off the ceremony which the team hopes will become a new tradition--taking care of an old tree and planting a new one, symbolising reverence and revivial.
Head of orchards Chantal Hellers-Bisenius clipped mistletoe from one of the more mature trees to help it “breathe again,” Hein explained. “It takes about four to five hours to cut the mistletoe from one tree. There are about 40-50 trees here, so it can take a month to clean a section of orchard.”
The best time to prune the trees is from November to April. Depending on the variety of tree, Hein says summer cuts can also be made, but “it’s more delicate”.
In the second part of the ceremony, a new tree was planted. While young trees tend to be stronger to resist the parasitic mistletoe, they nevertheless still need to be protected.
Wire barriers are therefore placed at the base of the tree help prevent rodents from gnawing at the roots, and a wooden frame is added around the tree to prevent it from being disturbed by livestock. Hein says the trees can bear 100-300kg of apples if it’s able to fully mature.
To close the ceremony, Adie Kaye, president of products and marketing, gave a wassail toast and splashed a tree with some cider. Wassailing has its roots in the pagan tradition which started in England and serves to stave off the bad spirits as well as to ensure a good harvest for the year to come.
Participants then made their way back to the Ramborn Cider Haff to sample the new harvest, have a hot bowl of “Bouneschlupp”, a Luxembourgish green bean soup, while composer André Mergenthaler gave a short concert, charming the crowd with his moving, often playful, works on the cello.