Maybe you’ve heard or sung the Yuletide carol about wassailing — which, as far as I’ve been able to figure out means singing carols. At least, the Yuletide version of wassailing is about singing carols.
I’ve learned today that there’s another flavor of wassailing. Add in a “wassail bowl” to pass around, and the practice could become quite tasty, I think. The wassail of which I speak is known as the Apple Wassail, and I hope some of my UK friends might jump in with comments or corrections to anything I write. It appears the tradition began in England and continues to this day.
It’s actually apple trees and not the apples themselves that are “wassailed” during the winter as folks visit the orchards to sing — and drink — in order to bring good luck and fertility to the trees, as well as to frighten away any evil spirits, all in hopes of having an abundant harvest in autumn.
While browsing around this morning, I’ve found a number of “wassail rhymes” and songs, so grab a cup of cider, bring along a few pots and pans to bang upon, and let’s go a-wassailing!
Apple tree, apple tree, we all come to wassail thee,
Bear this year and next year to bloom and to blow,
Hat fulls, cap fulls, three cornered sack fills,
Hip, Hip, Hip, hurrah,
Holler biys, holler hurrah.
You might want to save a bit of your cider. According to folktales from Somerset, the orchards are inhabited by an Apple Tree Man — the spirit of the eldest tree. If you share your cider with the Apple Tree Man, he might reward you by revealing the location of a treasure.
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