AN ANCIENT ceremony was brought tolife in Willesden Green for the third year running, attracting morethan 100 people to show local retailers how much they are valued.
The Willesden Green Wassail was held on Sunday from 2.15pm to 5pm, starting outside the local tube station
Residentsof all ages gathered to take to the streets of Willesden Green tocelebrate local traders and demonstrate through song, words andmovement how much they mean to the local community.
They were thanked through a range of street performances from kebab shop blessings to hip hop style poetry
Thewassail in Willesden Green was launched in 2010 by spoken word artistRachel Rose Reid. It puts a modern twist on the ancient Englishtradition of blessing apple trees in midwinter, which stretches backthousands of years.
Ms Rose Reid said Sunday's event was a huge success, with some familiar faces as well as new ones.
Shesaid: At this time of year, many rural communities in England singwassail songs in their orchards to wish good health for the nextgrowing season, but we show appreciation to a food-source more familiarin the urban jungle: our local independent shopkeepers.
"Whenpoets and artists do something they get a round of applause, but thatdoesn't happen for local shop keepers and they do so much for us, andthey work so hard."
Participantsgathered, and then learnt a traditional Wassail chant to sing as theywalked down the High Street, passing butchers, bakers, grocers andfishmongers.
The crowd wasentertained by local performers including PoetCurious and Jean-MarcPierson, Muslimah MCs Poetic Pilgrimage, Glastonbury hit AdamKammerling, and Globe Theatre Storyteller-in-Residence Debs Newbold.
Thegroup then walked to the apple trees at the Willesden Green LibraryCentre for the last Wassail song before heading inside for somerefreshments.
This year'sevent was supported by Transition Willesden, who provided apple cakeand spiced wassail punch, made from local fruit. Speaking before thecelebrations at the weekend, Transition Town Willesden founder, VivStein said: The Willesden Green Wassail is a great way to start theyear. It is a cross between a harvest thanksgiving, a carnivalprocession, and a flash mob choir making its way down our local HighStreet in the depths of Winter."