The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116913   Message #1362734
Posted By: GUEST,Ron Davies
21-Dec-04 - 10:47 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
This isn't, strictly speaking, wassailing, but we have at least been doing our bit for house-to-house caroling in the US, for 13 years now,--- did it last Friday--- in our case SATB. Some Choral Arts people, some Folklore Society, some Mudcatters, some neighbors--15 to 20 of us.

Admittedly I do live in a folk ghetto--have heard people practicing banjo and even bagpipe while I was walking back from the subway.

We have a little packet (about 25 pages) of familiar and less familiar carols and songs--- (Gaudete, as well as Winter Wonderland and Hark the Herald Angels)---and we also take all seasonal requests (and make up the words and/or the harmony if need be). Particularly the impromptu songs are great fun, especially since we have some people who are great at instant harmonies.

We never make much headway along the street--it's not easy to get 20 people to go anywhere---and when we get into a house, we're not in a huge rush to go outside again. We don't sing for any reward, even food and drink (but we don't turn sustenance down, that's for sure). And we sing for people who have (any) Christmas decorations, or who we know in advance want to hear us.

We sing from 7:30 to 10 and longer if we're in a house at 10. Then eventually we come back to my house and sing parodies and any other seasonal songs around the piano---- as well as Sound Sound, Malpas Wassail, Rolling Downward and other unaccompanied songs ---til all hours----- (and eat and drink more, of course).

There is definitely hope for house-to-house caroling in the US (in areas favorable to it, like ours)----and I can't imagine an ordinance we violate, especially since we seek no reward.

ClaireBear--your tradition sounds magnificent---several of us would love to participate, if we lived closer).