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Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail

DigiTrad:
APPLE TREE WASSAIL
BELLY WASSAIL
CAROL FOR THE TWELFTH DAY
CORNISH WASSAIL
GLOUCESTERSHIRE WASSAIL
GOWER WASSAIL
HERE WE COME A WASSAILING
HERE WE COME A WASSAILING (2)
HOMELESS WASSAIL
HUMBOLDT WASSAIL SONG
OLD FOX WASSAIL
SOMERSET WASSAIL
SOUTHREPPS WASSAIL SONG
THE HEYWOOD SUMNER WASSAIL SONG
THE TRUNCH WASSAIL SONG
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS


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GUEST,hudie 27 Jan 01 - 08:29 PM
Sarah2 27 Jan 01 - 11:33 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jan 01 - 11:51 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jan 01 - 12:01 AM
Liz the Squeak 28 Jan 01 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,Sledge 28 Jan 01 - 08:28 AM
Cobble 28 Jan 01 - 11:55 AM
Tradsinger 19 Dec 04 - 12:23 PM
Peace 19 Dec 04 - 03:14 PM
Leadfingers 19 Dec 04 - 06:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 04 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 20 Dec 04 - 11:09 AM
IanC 20 Dec 04 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 20 Dec 04 - 11:32 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 04 - 11:42 AM
IanC 20 Dec 04 - 12:44 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 20 Dec 04 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 20 Dec 04 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 20 Dec 04 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 20 Dec 04 - 11:49 PM
open mike 21 Dec 04 - 02:45 AM
MuddleC 21 Dec 04 - 05:56 AM
Tradsinger 21 Dec 04 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,jim hancock 21 Dec 04 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 21 Dec 04 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Ron Davies 21 Dec 04 - 10:47 PM
michaelr 22 Dec 04 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 29 Dec 04 - 11:09 AM
michaelr 29 Dec 04 - 08:23 PM
olddude 12 Dec 08 - 04:21 PM
olddude 12 Dec 08 - 04:23 PM
VirginiaTam 12 Dec 08 - 04:30 PM
Geoff the Duck 12 Dec 08 - 04:31 PM
olddude 12 Dec 08 - 04:53 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Dec 08 - 05:08 PM
Liz the Squeak 12 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM
olddude 12 Dec 08 - 05:16 PM
Liz the Squeak 12 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM
Amos 12 Dec 08 - 06:32 PM
olddude 12 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM
the lemonade lady 12 Dec 08 - 07:39 PM
John MacKenzie 13 Dec 08 - 05:57 AM
GUEST 13 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM
olddude 13 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM
Cats 14 Dec 08 - 12:15 AM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 14 Dec 08 - 07:01 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Dec 08 - 07:16 PM
Leadfingers 14 Dec 08 - 07:37 PM
GUEST 15 Dec 08 - 06:53 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 08:55 AM
ClaireBear 26 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 08:50 PM
GUEST,Sam 29 Oct 11 - 05:07 AM
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Subject: wassail
From: GUEST,hudie
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 08:29 PM

Why Wassail? Seem to remember reading (in a book by Bob Pegg maybe, see my Bob Peg inqiury elsewhre)that Wassailing was used as a way to help the earn a little money in the work thin deep winter months. Can verify or refute this notion? Cite sources, if you can.
Thank Y'all

Search for "Wassail" threads


    Multiple threads combined. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: wassail
From: Sarah2
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 11:33 PM

Hi, hudie,

There've been lots of wassail songs, and lots of wassail discussions here. But go to

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5567/wassail.html

...for more information than you probably want.

(Sorry I'm too computer illiterate to make a link of that.)

Sarah


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Subject: RE: Help: wassail
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 11:51 PM

Hi, Hudie.  It's usually best to keep a question to one thread only, partly so that you get an answer more quickly, and partly because threads don't get deleted here, and if there are lots of duplicates it can make it a bit difficult to find useful information later on.  There are some answers on your other thread, here:  Help: Bob Pegg

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: wassail
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 12:01 AM

And, yes; much as some people might like to believe that these things were survivals from "Pagan Times", it does seem much more likely that they were, in the main, mostly about getting a few drinks.  When Cecil Sharp discovered Morris Dancing, for example, it was because the weather was bad and there wasn't any work to be had in the building trade, so William Kimber got a scratch team together to go out and dance to see if they could make a bit of money to tide then over.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: wassail
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 04:10 AM

And there my over the pond friends is the origin of trick or treating..... we called it mumping, guising, wassailing, any number of names, but the same sort of thing.

A gang of men who have no full time occupation as winter sets in, travel round to those who do, either singing, dancing, or performing a play for treats (beer), or playing tricks on the occupier if they didn't get anything. Disguises were very necessary, to prevent retaliation, and thus were quite effective and all manner of costumes, different walks, methods for changing gaits/posture/silhouettes were used. Tricks were harmless pranks, like tying the gate shut or hiding the milking stools that sort of thing, that were all taken in good fun, by all members of the community, because it was a break in the monotony of winter. Nowadays, it's been taken across the pond and back, I have little thugs demanding money and sweets with menaces for nothing better than a sheet with a hole in it, but I can still tell it's that little bugger from down the road who keeps dropping his chip wrappers in my garden. He threatens to kick my door in if he doesn't get a pound.... Thanks guys!

Wassailing was just another way to get a free drink/mince pie off the neighbours, partake a bit of the bounty of the Manor or local land owner, and have a nice walk in the fresh air. As you were wishing all your friends a good Christmas/New Year you got the chance to have a natter and maybe swap a few songs. Of course you were expected to reciprocate when the Wassailers came to your house, and I guess the songs were a sort of early warning siren, broach that barrel, we're just rounding the gatepost and will be in your porch in a minute.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Help: wassail
From: GUEST,Sledge
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 08:28 AM

Drinkhail


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Subject: RE: Help: wassail
From: Cobble
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:55 AM

I was drinking a real ale called wassail in the Jug last Wednesday loverrrrrrrrrrly.

Cobble.


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Subject: Thoughts on wassailing
From: Tradsinger
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 12:23 PM

I note that at this time of year, lots of people go to a "wassail", but does anyone (apart from traditional groups such as Bodmin) goes "wassailing"? The reason I ask this is that there are 2 versions of the wassailing tradition - one is a house-to-house, very much like carol singing, and the other is in one place, such as an orchard where the assembled company sing to the cider-apple trees. The tradition where I live (Gloucestershire) used to be very much the former, and all the tradition versions I have recorded from old singers are about "going wassailing", or "waysailing" as they usually pronounce it, and was a house-to-house custom. I notice that now in Gloucestershire and elsewhere, people are holding "wassails", which is more the static, singing to the trees type. Nothing wrong with that as everybody has a good time and lots of singing is done. What worries me slightly is that people will come to think that that is the old Gloucestershire wassailing tradition, which it isn't, although it is very much how it's done in other parts of England.

I will be going aroung before Christmas in a local village with a group of carollers and we will be carrying the wassail bowl, decorated with holly and other plants, and we will also take around "The Broad", a sort of representation of a cow, with eyes that glow in the dark! This to me is more akin to the old custom.

I have a theory that wassailing is our oldest English custom, much older than morris. The word itself is yonks old and wassailing gets referred to in lots of old literature. I am surprised that the word does not turn up in Scandanavian folklore - unless someone out there knows better! The only Celtic equivalent I know of wassailing is the Welsh Mari Lywd, some versions of which have the word wassail in the song.

Anyone, a few points to ponder there. What do other Mudcatters do or think of wassailing?

Gwilym

Search for "Wassail" threads


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 03:14 PM

I wassailing once in San Francisco Bay in a small two-crew boat. I am not a fan of the water, so I didn't enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 06:34 PM

Wassail ? This is Ale !!


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 09:04 PM

A wassailer is one who takes part in riotous activities. Not too old a word, appearing in print in the 14th century. Milton complained "I should be loath to meet the rudenesse and swill'd insolence of such late wassailers." Bah! Humbug!

Seriously, the folk practice of caroling has disappeared in North America and probably would violate some ordinance. When I was a kid, in some more rural parts of the country, there were still a few people who would ride (greater distances here) from house to house, singing carols, and being invited in to receive a drink or bit of food. No wassail bowl, but a few jugs.

Nowadays, some people gather at home with friends, but most go to a commercial establishment to eat, dance and drink.


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:09 AM

I co-founded an annual wassail in Berkeley, California, in 1981, and that event is still riotously successful 24 years later. It's now run by Berkeley Morris, since both I and its other cofounder have moved away. It is a house-traveling party with between six and eight stops. Traveling is done by auto (with designated drivers, of course) as the houses are very widespread. Lots of food and drink (and morris dancing these days, but I suppose that can't be helped) at each house, ending at a "last house" that hosts until the wee small hours, with wassail pancakes in the morning for whoever is left. There's a song, in glorious 3-part harmony, that goes with the party and is never sung at any other time. It's sung at each house to gain entrance/allow the owners to douse the lights and pretend to have been called out of town. Annual attendance is 80ish.

My co-founder, together with his lovely wife, has been organizing an annual wassail -- same format -- for about five years now in Sebastopol, California. He wrote and harmonized another song for that. Apple Tree Morris, for which he and I are musicians, dance.

The intentional community where I live, near Santa Cruz, has just hosted its first event of the same sort, but we decided to call it a hooden instead of a wassail because, well, we live in a 'hood -- thankfully a rural 'hood, with lots of fruit trees. The party went to six houses, and because they're close together we did it on foot. After feeding us and quenching our great thirst, the owner of each home chose a tree to be blessed, whereupon we poured last year's cider on it and chanted an English tree blessing (mostly from Suffolk). I wrote a song with words loosely based on a hoodening song that Oysterband recorded decades ago, but no multi-part masterwork; my neighbors are all harmony-impaired. Also largely dancing-impaired, so we were a dance-free event this year. By next year, when the word spreads...well, we'll see.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: IanC
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:22 AM

Q

A 14th Century use of a word is pretty old. However the word is undoubtedly much older than that.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, in Historia Regum Britanniae 1136-1138 gives an ealier authority (Walter Calenius) as saying that the daughter of Hengist used the term.

.. this lady [Rowena], the daughter of Hengist, knelt down on the approach of the King [Vortigern] and, presenting him with a cup of wine, exclaimed, "Lord King waes heil", that is, literally, "health be to you".

Even if Hengist's daughter didn't actually say that, Geoffrey reported it before the middle of the 12th Century and, what's more, he appears to have used the Old English version of the word. I think that suggests the word was used quite widely by the Anglo Saxons (I haven't found a direct OE quote, but Monks didn't use words like that much ... neither did they use words about sex. "Fuck" doesn't appear in print until the 15th Century).

Geoffrey's quote would support the view that the story was in oral currency before his time, anyway.

Please be aware that quoting an earliest reference just means that something is earlier than the reference not the other way round.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:32 AM

Forgot to mention, I decorated a wassail bowl for Berkeley...it has moved to Sebastopol now with its owner, and I don't know what they use in Berjeley these days. The bowl doesn't travel with the party, though; it's used only at the last house where the wassail is made. During the other stops, folks present their own coffee cups, flagons, drinking horns and what-have-you to be filled with whatever the host is pouring.

For the hooden, we didn't have a ceremonial beverage, but we did build a hooden Horse of sorts -- actually just a head on a pole that sat in a cup belted around its wearer's waist. The horse's "saddle-bags" bore a wee giftie for each house (dried apples from this year's crop) and a bottle containing a splash of last year's cider for the trees.


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:42 AM

Deliberately ignored questionable Geoffrey reference by Wace (OED). Looks like "Cheers" is meant. Not the sense Tradsinger was asking about.

And Cheers! to ClareBear for the Berkeley effort.


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: IanC
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 12:44 PM

True that cheers is what's meant, but that's exactly the meaning of the word in the traditional sense too.

:-)


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 01:27 PM

All you want to know is found here:
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5567/wassail.html
a buys site this time of year but comes up and down so try again...if you dont get in.

to the wassail epicenter [new site here (click)]

Of course there is our wassail book
http://www.geocities.com/artcars/hutbook.html

Do the Wassail the one and only wassail book!

Hard time getting wassailers out in Baltimore- we will probably have to have two small ones-let me know if anyone local is interested...both in January....

Conrad
cbladey@bcpl.net


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:34 PM

My Dad used to say 'veis heil, good health' as a toast - he was a country boy from the North of England. If he was with someone he had known for a long time he just said 'veis heil'.

I never associated it with wassail until I saw a program about Norsemen and they filmed a group of reenactors. For some reason the subtitles were on - it might have been a late night rerun with signing etc.

It seems sensible to me to wish 'good health' to the fruit trees - though you should stick a couple of chunks of cider dipped bread in the branches, for the birds. I think the logic is that you see the local little birds through the Winter and they will turn up in Spring to pick off the grubs and bugs for you so you don't get maggoty apples in the Autumn.

Anne


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:43 PM

In some varieties of the 'fruit tree' wassail you are supposed to fire shotguns up through the branches of the trees to keep evil spirits away! I imagine that almost anyone or anything would be driven away by a bunch of cider-sodden loonies blasting off shotguns.
Victorian writers were fond of claiming that the name of my home town --- Walsall --- was originally 'Waes Heil' or 'Wassail'. It wasn't.

Anyway, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Wassail to you all, and since December 25th is my birthday, you can take the day off.


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:49 PM

what about the wassail tradition of blasting shotgun pellets
up into the branches of the trees..
is that a region specific wassail ritual..
or just standard ciderhead behaviour..??

or am i getting confused with the last time i watched 'Straw Dogs' DVD..??


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: open mike
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 02:45 AM

sounds wonderful--
we did go carolling last weekend..
but there was an obvious shortage
of wassail being offered to us..
must train the neighbors better!


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: MuddleC
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 05:56 AM

Being from Somerset, and a cider-drinker... and having a shotgun, I have always been advised that 'was Hael', was OE for 'good heatlth'.

The shooting up of orchard trees was either to get rid of evil spirits or to warn the tree to do better next year!

There is still an in-and-out-the-houses dance held in Helston, Cornwall, but that's a May dance, not a winter celebration.
'The furry Dance' is held several times during the day, different groups making up the numbers, childrens dance, locals dance, dignitaries and guests dance etc.
-I recommend the Blue Anchor Pub, half way up the hill on the right, they serve home-brewed 'Spingo Ale'. I wished that I'd lived at the bottom of the hill, the uphill climb really took it out of you at closing time....
Was Hael!!


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 06:16 AM

Thanks for all your responses to this and it's interesting to see what the word wassail means to different people. Here's my take on it: the phrase is old English, probably over a millenium old and basically means "Good Health" or "Cheers". So its first meaning is as a toast. From that it got associated with Christmas/Yule and came to mean wishing good luck to the farm plants and animals, plus the farm owner for good measure.

In some versions it was a house to house tradition, and still is in parts of the English southwest. I find it interesting that the old Gloucestershire version sometimes included a representation of a cow or bull which they took from house to house. I'd like to think that some time in the past, the singers took a real cow or bull with them, but perhaps the logistics of that got too difficult!

Other versions are the static one - singing to the cider apple trees, and a good time is had by all - sounds very Devon or Somerset to me.

I'm not sure how the wassail bowl got into the tradition, but it is certainly central to the old Gloucestershire waysail, when it was decorated and paraded around the houses as a token, but not filled up with drink. The Gower version from South Wales meant taking a bowl around, but indeed getting it filled up with drink from house to house.

Also somewhere on the way, wassail became a recipe for hot punch. When? How?

I think that now the tradition is changing. The house to house idea no longer has the same meaning as communities are less close, but there is great appeal in getting together for a good sing song.

As I said before, the 'new' wassailing tradition is great so long as people realise that they are inventing local traditions not recreating them.

I think there is a lot more to wassailing than meets the eye, and it is a subject that has been under-researched. There are thoughts to hold a wassail conference weekend in England sometime, with talks/workshops and performance. Do you think there would be any support for that?

In the meantime,

Waes Hael to you all

Nadolig Llawen

Have a cool yule


Gwilym


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,jim hancock
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 08:07 AM

It comes from the Anglo Saxon - Waes Heil - meaning "be whole" or "be healthy" and involved drinking to communal health from a large wooden bowl. The bowl was filled with hot ale and nutmeg, toast and roasted crab apples, So next time you "drink a toast" to someone's health you're using a tradition at least 1500 years old.

Merry Christmas

Jim Hancock


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 10:40 PM

Hmmm - taking a cow or bull around - first of all cattle don't move all that fast when walking - though when they move they have a lot of pulling power.

Second, the idea is to get people to happily dish out drink.

The scenario of an angry cattlebeast with a number of rather drunken revellers tying to encourage it in the right direction (towards the house!!) doesn't really engender the idea of a householder supplying them with booze, particularly if the beast has horns and is chasing/dragging its handlers across the lawns/shrubbery/rosebeds.

The option of a 'hobby bull' must have seemed like a good idea to anyone who regularly had to move cattlebeasts about.

Anne


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 10:47 PM

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).


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Dec 04 - 02:25 AM

Hi ClaireBear -- wasn't it just this evening that I was invited to the Sebastopol Wassail by (I suppose) your co-founder Jon, a righteous man and a wonderful fiddler who, I'm happy to say, has agreed to play with my band Greenhouse. What a thrill to find this thread! Serendipity-doo-dah, to be sure.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 29 Dec 04 - 11:09 AM

Greetings, michaelr -- see you there, then, and welcome to the crew! Sorry it took me a few days to respond; I've been out of the office.

I'll be the frazzled woman with the dulcimer, the concertina, and the four-year-old son.

Claire


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Subject: RE: What is a wassail/wassailing?
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Dec 04 - 08:23 PM

I look forward to meeting you, Claire.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: olddude
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:21 PM

what is Wassail where did it orginate from? I know it is a stupid question and it occurs at the Christmas season but what does the term mean, where did it come from


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: olddude
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:23 PM

I also know it is a hot punch but why is it associated with christmas only?


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:30 PM

wikipedia explanation


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:31 PM

Like many words from Northern England, it came in with the Vikings. Wes Hael means something on the lines of wishing you good health (same root as Hale & Hearty). Can't be bothered actually looking up any references or correct spelling. It's too near Christmas. I'll leave that to the pedants.
Wassail!
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: olddude
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:53 PM

Got it thank you


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:08 PM

This is really a proper folk related post, and should be above the line.


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM

The correct response, when handed a Wassail bowl is to raise it to the host (or the giver), say 'Drinkhail' and take a sip (or a gulp if it's a big bowl and a small gathering) and pass it along with the salutation of 'wassail'.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: olddude
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:16 PM

What is in the bowl? a spice punch ? Tea ?
just trying to understand the tradition. I know the kids all dress up in scary outfits like halloween here in the states. I think it is really nice just trying to get it


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Subject: RE: BS: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM

It can be mulled wine or hot, spiced beer or cider (that's the alcoholic stuff, not apple juice), or a spiced punch. It doesn't even have to be alcoholic - although that is probably the original content of choice.

The sentiment (do I mean that? I don't think that's the right word but I'm bereft of the correct one just now) is that of sharing, whether that's the drink, the company or a blessing is up to the individuals taking part.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 06:32 PM

The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
                  Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
                  And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
                  The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
                  The triumph of his pledge.

(Hamlet)

Wassao;"

A toast to health, usually at a festival; The beverage served during a wassail; Revelry; To toast, to drink to the health of another; To drink wassail
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wassail


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: olddude
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM

What a wonderful tradition
I love it


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 07:39 PM

This is what I found which is what John Krikpatrick said tonight at a concert...

'Wassail is a warm drink that was once popular in England. It is made from ale (an alcoholic beverage similar to beer, but heavier) or wine and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Wassail usually contains roasted apples, as well.

Wassail was originally used to toast to someone's health or for good luck. The word itself is derived from the Old Norse word vesheill, which means "be in good health."

Wassail was also served on special occasions such as Christmas and Twelfth Night (the twelfth night after Christmas, formerly celebrated as the end of Christmas). In Old England, groups of Christmas carolers would go a-wassailing, meaning they would travel from house to house caroling their hosts in return for a cup of this delicious drink'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 05:57 AM

Wassailing of apple trees is another associated custom, and it is mentioned here along with other wassail information.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM

Olddude,
Don't listen to 'em. The term originated in Somerset in the 19th century. An antiquarian from London was standing on a clifftop in Somerset with a local deaf farmer one New Year. They were looking down on a village where some of the locals were pruning apple trees with shotguns. The Antiquarian asks the farmer 'What's going on down there?' A sailing ship just happened to be going by and the farmer not hearing the question asked 'Wassail is that?'

I'll get me coat!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: olddude
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM

LOL

I'll get me coat also


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Cats
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 12:15 AM

In the hamlet on Bodmin Moor where we live we wassail. We start at the next hamlet over and wassail the new orchard there, then move to the lower farm and wassail there then up to ours and wassail there followed by singing, music, mummmers plays, food, drink etc. The tree we wassail in the lower farm was planted for the present owners grandmother on her wedding day and last year the wassail was poured into the roots by Hawkers daughter and, the final drops by the great grandson of the person it was planted for. Really poignant.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:01 PM

Help, I've been cut off! I'm not surprised after that terrible joke 3 postings back, but do I have to rejoin or what? Has my subscription run out, or have I pressed the wrong buttons again?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:16 PM

Aha! Apparently my cookie had crumbled! Back in business!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:37 PM

Someone shouted "Wassail" at me - I pointed to my tankard of Breakspears and replied "Tha's Ale!"


And I'll get MY coat as well


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:53 AM

There was a Mondegreen mentioned on Allceilidh. Some kid learning guitar had told the teacher he could play the "What Sailor" song.

Mondegreen city ensued, all on the Wassail song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 08:55 AM

This year for the Center For Fawkesian Pursuits Wassail celebration-outside of Baltimore Md. USA
I constructed a Vessel box, wassail box aka wessel bob....
If you need more information on this let me know- I am on different computer...

Also constructed a few weeks ago a christmas ox from a skull obtained via ebay. We will use this for a wassailing of the oxen ritual also a part of wassail and the christmas ox visitation ritual.

I am curently 3/4 the way through construction of a Mari lloyd the welsh grey mare also used in wassail visitations. i am trying to figure out how to spring load the jaw so it snaps.....any ideas....

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: ClaireBear
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM

Id I were making one, I would kleave the lower jaw loose (maybe using a leather hinge to affix it to the head proper) and then rig the lower jaw with a string that I would then run through a hole in the head piece and back between the ears to my hand. Then, I could pull the jaw shut for a "snap" on command. I think that would be more effective than spring-loading it, because I wouldn't have to move the whole head in order to make the jaw "bite."

My neighbor made a similar critter for a hoodening ritual we did for our apple orchards a few years ago, and I think that's how he rigged it but can't recall for sure.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 08:50 PM

I am going to go with eye bolts across upper jaw inside, between rows of teeth = two one at back and front and one in lower jaw.
Pull string through top it raises jaw on bottom. Jaw returns via its own weight. A bit narrow but should work.

I drilled a hole through the lower jaw then through foam support for above the flange which the carrying pole screws into.(center bottom off skull) Through the hole I put a bolt with washers and nut.

Today I finished its mane with ribbons and bells.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Stupid Question but what is Wassail
From: GUEST,Sam
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 05:07 AM

In the village I live the tradition of wassailing has been around for a long time, this year maybe the end of tradition as our one and only local pub has been closed down as he wants to sell it for property development. We formed a commitee to try and save it but we were all banned from the pub......... here is a little film I made the middle section shows our community mid flow of a wassail night !


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