Willesden Wassail took place over the weekend

Around 100 people took part in Willesden Wassail

Around 100 people took part in Willesden Wassail - Credit: Archant

More than 100 people participate in ancient ritual

High Street shops were blessed and sang to by more than 100 residents as part of an ancient ritual, which returned to Willesden Green this weekend.

The Willesden Wassail saw residents joined by a team of spoken word artists as they marched down High Road to honour their local food providers yesterday (Sunday).

Wassailing is a tradition dating back to pre-Christian times in which a group of people sang a traditional winter song to their weather-beaten apple trees in order to encourage a good harvest for the year ahead.

The modern event, which takes place every year, sees residents do the same but for their local high street food providers.

Rachel Rose Reid, who organised the event, expressed the importance of keeping to the tradition.

She said: “Small acts of kindness and appreciation can make a lot of difference, there’s always a good reaction from shopkeepers and we always stop at a new shops as well.

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“I’ve learned so much from shopping there, these are the people who create a local community so it’s important to recognise them.”

The festival then moves onto the town square outside Willesden Library where residents decorate the trees that line the area.

The sqaure is currently subject of a bid by campaign group Keep Willesden Green who want it to be given Town Square public status.

Ms Rose Reid added: “The square is at the heart of our area and in big cities there are fewer and fewer community spaces.

“It’s at the heart of the Wassail and it’s incredible to have a space where we can do this sort of thing.”