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Wassail!

January 18, 2009

wassail

Yesterday was Old Twelfth Night, the time when wassailing in orchards traditionally takes place. Waes haeil means ‘be healthy’ and wassailing apple trees was believed to encourage a good crop.Traditionally, the largest or oldest tree in the orchard is selected as the focus of the wassailing, but, lacking either an orchard or a large apple tree, we decided to wassail my mother’s recently planted apple trees!

wassail2

We hung some cider-drenched toast in the branches and poured cider around the trees roots. In keeping with tradition, a large quantity of cider was also consumed (although we did this part after the baby had gone to bed)! You can read more about the wassailing tradition here and here.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2009 7:05 pm

    Drynkehaile!
    – – –
    Ronewenne…come wiþ a coupe of golde in here honde, and knelede bifore þe kyng, and saide to him ‘Whatsaile!’ and þe kyng wist nou3t what it was forto mene…Noþeles, a Latymer tolde þe kyng þe fulle vnderstondyng þerof ‘whatsaill,’ and þat oþer shulde ansuere ‘drynkehaile.’ — from the Prose Brut (c. 1333, Middle English Dictionary)

  2. January 18, 2009 7:18 pm

    Thank you wil.

    Oh, by the way, I’ve left a couple of comments recently on your blog but they don’t seem to be getting through…. could they be getting caught in a spam filter? Hmm, the internet is a strange place – where else would you find talk of wassailing and spam filters side by side! 🙂

  3. January 18, 2009 8:11 pm

    Rebecca, thank you so much for notifying me! I hardly ever check my spam folder, because I’ve never had false-positives before. But a few weeks ago I raised my spam-filter’s sensitivity and it appears there are quite a few comments that have been languishing in my spam folder. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’d hate for anyone to think I didn’t care for their comment. I love comments!

  4. January 18, 2009 8:14 pm

    Wassail!!!

    xxxx

  5. dowhatyoulove permalink
    January 18, 2009 8:55 pm

    Oh, I bet that little tree is going to grow strong and happy this year! What a fun tradition. I had hear about Wassail before, but never knew exactly what it was. Again, thank you for teaching me! I made some orange curd the other night, yum yum!!

  6. January 18, 2009 10:40 pm

    I was interested to hear of your wassail ceremony as I went to my first wassail yesterday. The outdoor rituals were curtailed by high winds and heavy rain but the indoor festivities carried on regardless!

  7. January 19, 2009 8:01 am

    Thank you both. I think our little ceremony was far from ‘authentic’ but it was fun (particularly the cider-drinking part!) and it was good to take time to appreciate the trees. I would love to go to a ‘proper’ wassail one day.

  8. thegardensmallholder permalink
    January 19, 2009 8:40 pm

    What an interesting ceremony, glad you enjoyed the cider drinking!! Thanks for the links on this.

    xx

  9. January 19, 2009 9:37 pm

    thanks GSH!

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