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Wassail ? What is it ...

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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Review: Do the Wassail!==>Wassail Hymnal/guide (6)
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Lyr Req: Old Fox Wassail (2)


j0_77 17 Mar 99 - 01:27 AM
katlaughing 17 Mar 99 - 02:24 AM
j0_77 17 Mar 99 - 03:26 AM
SlowAlan 17 Mar 99 - 07:44 AM
Ian 17 Mar 99 - 07:55 AM
catspaw49 17 Mar 99 - 09:17 AM
katlaughing 17 Mar 99 - 10:34 AM
j0_77 17 Mar 99 - 11:16 AM
Ian 17 Mar 99 - 11:46 AM
AlistairUK 17 Mar 99 - 12:18 PM
AlistairUK 17 Mar 99 - 12:19 PM
ANIMATERRA 17 Mar 99 - 12:30 PM
j0_77 17 Mar 99 - 12:37 PM
hotspur 17 Mar 99 - 01:53 PM
ADeane 17 Mar 99 - 02:51 PM
j0_77 17 Mar 99 - 03:52 PM
katlaughing 17 Mar 99 - 06:24 PM
Ronn 17 Mar 99 - 07:46 PM
Guy Wolff 17 Mar 99 - 08:34 PM
Ian 18 Mar 99 - 04:14 AM
Art Thieme 18 Mar 99 - 05:32 PM
RaginPagan (inactive) 18 Mar 99 - 07:12 PM
cbladey@mail.bcpl.net 13 Dec 99 - 10:11 AM
cbladey@mail.bcpl.net 13 Dec 99 - 10:14 AM
MMario 13 Dec 99 - 10:34 AM
Blackcat2 13 Dec 99 - 10:56 AM
AnTirKitten 13 Dec 99 - 11:45 AM
Blackcat2 13 Dec 99 - 12:01 PM
AnTirKitten 13 Dec 99 - 12:54 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 10 - 06:48 PM
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Subject: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 01:27 AM

Even though I heard of it long ago - I am now very confused. It was reported - I think on PR - that it is an English Custom. They went on to describe poeple singing to apple trees. I suppose there had to be scrumpy somewhere in there, but I don't now recall the exact account. Any input greatly appreciated :)

Search for "Wassail" threads


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 02:24 AM

According to the scant info I have in an out-of-print Christmas Carol book I grew up on and cherish more each year, because of its history notes of each song and the really unusual songs which are in it,"Wassail is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Waeshael(Be in health)."

It doesn't say anything about apple trees, but it does say the carol, "Here we come a'caroling" is derived from "Here we come a'wassailing". It goes on to say wassailing was a pagan Yule custom of the British Isles. "It was customary for groups of revelers to go about offering a hot drink from the wassail bowl and a song, in exchange for gifts".While at the time the book was printed it says the custom was still practised in Englad, "it has been largely displaced by caroling". From what I can gather, the drink itself was usually spiced ale.

The book is The Christmas Carolers' Book by Torstein O. Kvamme, Hall & McCreary Company, Chicago, circa 1930/40's.

I hope this was some of what you were looking for.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 03:26 AM

Thanks :) Well that is precisely what I recall - and in the company of my very dear friends went Caroling with candles and all that good stuff. There are many things related here - I believe the PR shows here in the USA 'romanticise' and get a little confused on occasion.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: SlowAlan
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 07:44 AM

Yeah, I think that it was an opportunity for the farm workers to "claim" booze and presents from the landlords, a rare opportunity when they had the upper hand.

Some of the wassail song lyrics imply that if the squire and his lady don't come across with the grog and presents they might have bad luck of some sort.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Ian
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 07:55 AM

Waes Hael - "Good Health" - is still occasionally used as a drinking toast in rural England.

Whilst the original custom was probably one and the same as carol singing in some parts of England, in the Western counties (Somerset, Dorset, Devon etc.) it has been specially identified with carolling in the cider orchards.

Wassailing, as distinct from carolling, is still practised in one or two villages in these counties.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 09:17 AM

Wow...Y'all got them in-depth kinda' books and all. Very impressive. But katlaughing dear...you got family ti the TV racket, so you oughta' know that most everything mentioned in this thread is in the "Claymation Christmas Special." Vast wasteland indeed!!! ***GRIN***

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 10:34 AM

catspaw....CLAYMATION???? AAARRRGGGGHHHhhhhh! TV broadcast might be our bread and butter, but we don't let it muck about with our minds THAT much! UGH!***BG***


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 11:16 AM

I guess the researcher for the show that I heard was a newbie - (wonders in amamzment, PR hmmm) Were not the Western Counties especially Cornwall the last to adopt English? Perhaps they adopted the name Wassailing for some older custom.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Ian
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 11:46 AM

Dorset & Somerset were part of the ancient English kingdom of Wessex. Waes Hael is an Anglo Saxon phrase. Sorry, but that means English. The significance of the western counties is that cider is involved.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: AlistairUK
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:18 PM

The Kipper Family used to do a wonderful wassailing song. Here's a snippet:

Wassail, Wassail I'll tell yer wassail,
It comes in bottles brown and pale,
It comes in bottles so bring some here
And we'll have a happy New Year

Here we come a-wassailing all amongst the leaves
Which isn't very easy when they're still all on the trees

Wassail etc.

Pouring cider on the apple tree seems rather wrong
We'll drink it first and then we'll water the trees before too long.

Wassail etc.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: AlistairUK
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:19 PM

I forgot the last verse:

Now the year has passed away cast away your sins,

There's lots of loverly new ones when another year begins.

wassail etc.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: ANIMATERRA
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:30 PM

There's an Apple Tree Wasssail that goes:
Old apple tree we'll wassail thee
and hoping thou wilt bear
The Lord does know where we shall be
to be merry another year
To blow well and to bear well so merry let us be
Let every man take up his cup, here's health to the old apple tree!
(spoken): Apples all! Hats full! caps full! barrels full! barn floors full! And a little heap under the stairs!

We used to sing this in the Christmas Revels; I believe it was a New Years' tradition but I can't remember where.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:37 PM

Thnkyou Ian - I am informed but still wondering. Why go Caroling in Apple Orchards? There are no hoses there usually. Perhaps there used be houses in them? :) Thankyou A - love the lyric - tis well I recall the happy times - good ale good company - Never became a Scrumpy fan - guess I lived in the wrong place.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: hotspur
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 01:53 PM

I always understood that the apple tree wassail was a sort of toast so that the tree would bear fruit the next year--that is, they actually sang to the tree(very Earth religion sort of thing.) In those days the words "hardy perennial" were obviously not in their vocabulary...I imagine this ritual was similar to "conjuring summer" which had to be done every spring to be assured that the warm weather would come. It's a good thing we don't live in such a state of uncertainty!


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: ADeane
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 02:51 PM

Living as we do on the borders of Somerset and Devon I can assure everyone that wassailing is still practised here. It is traditionally held on 17th January, the old New Year's Day. It is irretrievably linked with cider orchards where toast is put in the branches of the apple trees and shotguns are fired over the trees to frighten the evil spirits away. Originally the wassailing was meant to ensure a good crop for the following year. The Morris Men in these parts also have a wassail dance and sing the Apple Tree Wassail as part of the dance. Wassailing should not be linked to Christmas as the two are quite separate. Also wassailing is a very good excuse to have a sesion in the pub afterwards! Hope this throws a little more light on the matter. ADeane in Devon UK


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 03:52 PM

Thankyou - Fills in the missing bits. Sounds like the term refers to both Caroling at Christmas time and Wassailing 'proper'. It must be fun putting toast in the trees :) I'm a devoted wassailer from this day. Hugzzzzz


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 06:24 PM

The database here has a song titled, "Somerset Wassailing".


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Ronn
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 07:46 PM

Being something of troglodyte where this stuff is concerned, before reading this thread, I only knew of wassail as a beverage. Being from Milwaukee, I find beverage lore to be fascinating, found a recipe, and modernized it. Friends from the British Isles have told me that I did well.

1/2 cup sugar 1 cup water 3 lemon slices 2 cinnamon sticks 2 cups red wine 2 cups brandy 2 cups rum 2 cups cranberry juice 1 cup fresh (preferably)or frozen lemon juice

Make a simple syrup with the water and sugar and boil for 5 minutes with the lemon slices and cinnamon sticks. Strain and set aside. In a large pot, combine the remaining ingredients and warm over low heat. Stir in the syrup. Serve warm garnished with the lemon slices.

There are probably more authentic ways to do it, but this is easy enough. And a damned site easier to find in these parts than poteen.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 08:34 PM

As a traditional potter it would be fun to add that Iv'e heard Wassail means.."To give health" And that a wassail bowl looked like a very big wide mug with alot of handles for passing around.{Also called a "Possit",as is the drink in some countys} You did not take a drink without making a toast or "giving health"So in a way it sounds like a very early vertion of our Thanksgiving though maybe abit more alcaholic.These wassail bowls can be found in alot of great ceramic collections around the UK. I'm shore Peter Strong at Wetheriggs Pottery Nr. Penrith Cumbria could make a good late eighteenth century Slip trailed beauty for anyone interested....It is a great game by the way ...Not being aloud to take a drink without making some kind of thankyou for something of that year...You end up thanking whomever for the tree out side your house ...Ah well the sixties were a long time ago...Cheers to all ..Guy ........................


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Ian
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 04:14 AM

Jo

Part of a fertility rite. They are prevalent all over England, like Plough Monday in East Anglia, where the farming is arable.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 05:32 PM

Comes from an old song out of Yarmouth that goes something like:

Wa, wa, wa, wasailin---sailing with whales,
My Uncle Ahab goes sailing with whales...

(anybody wanna try?)

Art


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: RaginPagan (inactive)
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 07:12 PM

As indicated earlier, this tradition of old England is still practised in a traditional format. It is also worth keeping in mind that it is also being adopted (and moulded a bit) by certain parts of the emerging English Pagan community at the moment (along with many other traditions associated with alcohol).


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: cbladey@mail.bcpl.net
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 10:11 AM

Anyone Have the lyrics to the "Kipper Family Wassail"

the available snippet is:

The Kipper Family used to do a wonderful wassailling song. Here's a snippet:

Wassail Wassail I'll tell yer wassail,

It comes in bottles brown and pale,

It comes in bottles so bring some here

And we'll have a happy new year

Here we come a wassailling all amongst the leaves

Which isn't very easy when they're still all on the trees

Wassail etc.

Pouring cider on the apple tree seems rather wrong

We'll drink it first and then we'll water the trees before too long.

Wassail etc.

Many thanks in advance for your kind assistance.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: cbladey@mail.bcpl.net
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 10:14 AM

Ok its the trunch wassail and in the database!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: MMario
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 10:34 AM

I will have to go looking, but somewhere I saw a very learned and well documented article that pointed out the the "wassail" custom (like quite a few others) does not appear to have a history that extends back before the early 1800's. Evidently there were quite a few people who practically made a profession out of thinking up and diseminating "traditional" rituals of all kinds, which society of those days took up in fads...

anyway -- in my opinion 150 plus years is still enough to make something "traditional" so what the heck.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Blackcat2
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 10:56 AM

To me, one of the interesting things about Wassailing is the mixture of the two Pagan holidays Yule and Samhain (Hallowe'en) when it comes to the "door to door" bit. In my group of friends in Orlando Florida, there seems to be an inability on the part of some people to accept the concept that people used to go door to door at bothe Hallowe'en and Yule (this comes up each year when we dust off our Winter holiday music and "A-Soulin'" is immediately thrown in the mix even though it directly references Hallowe'en.

The biggest problem seems to be the lyric similarity between Here We Come A-Caroling and A-Soulin'. Of course the strange thing is that the same people who have a hard time accepting the concept of people going door-to-door for both Yule and Hallowe'en actually go door-to-door with their kids on Hallowe'en trick or treating.

For those of us who are Pagan, it feels very weird to sing A-Soulin' at a Winter concert.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: AnTirKitten
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 11:45 AM

Is that A-soulin as sung by Peter, Paul and Mary on "Travelling"? The one that starts off with "Hey, ho, nobody home/Meat nor drink nor money have I none/Yet I will be merry"??? And as a devout Pagan myself, singing to trees to make them bear much fruit actually seems to make sense to me *s*. Other cultures have much weirder customs...

Cat who took a LOT of Latin American History and culture courses way back when


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: Blackcat2
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 12:01 PM

Hey there - yes that's the song, but be careful - the beginning "Hey Ho" . . . actually is a fragment of another song. But A-Soulin' talks about Soul Cakes which seem to be similar to the "deadheads" that some South/Central American people make (as does my friend Mary) for All Soul's night/Day of the Dead.

It's totall disconnected from Yuletide though there are definately similarities to the festivities.


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: AnTirKitten
Date: 13 Dec 99 - 12:54 PM

Hmmm. Okay. I've also heard the "Hey ho" round used in a cycle of rounds that goes (in order)

Rose, rose, rose, rose
Will I ever see thee wed?
I will marry as I will, Sire
As I will

Hey ho, nobody home,
Meat nor drink nor money
Have I none, yet I will be merry

Ah poor bird, take thy flight
Far across the shadows
Of this dark night


*note* All of the above are in Rise up Singing which is my pride and joy :) The song Rose is French originally and if there's enough interest, I'll post the French lyrics :)

Cat


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Subject: RE: Wassail ? What is it ...
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 06:48 PM

New address for he Wassail epicenter

http://mysite.verizon.net/cbladey/wassail.html

The Wassail Epicenter


Always growing!
keep us working visit our shop! Check out he book
Do the Wassail

Conrad


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