A wassailing we will go…
According to Wikipedia, the tradition of wassailing ‘falls into two distinct categories: The house-visiting and the orchard-visiting wassail.’
The first involves going door-to-door, singing and offering a drink in exchange for gifts, a practice mostly now overtaken by carol-singing. The orchard-visiting tradition features reciting incantations and singing to the trees to encourage a good harvest. So possibly we should be gathering in the garden of The Weaver’s House to serenade our apple trees.
Wassailing is part of the Twelfth Night tradition (either 5th or 6th January). The word ‘wassail’ originates from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘waes hael’ which mean ‘good health’.
The wassail was a drink made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar, which sounds like a good start for getting some singing going!
You can read more about the origins and find a recipe at this informative site.
Once fortified by your wassail, take inspiration from Steeleye Span’s version of the Gower Wassail, and also linked below, a traditional wassail in Coventry from a few years ago.
Happy New Year and waes hael to you! We hope you’ll join us for one of our Open Days this year.
Barker’s Wassail 2013 from Kenswick ©muffinn on Flickr under Creative Commons licence