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January 18, 2009


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!


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.

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

    – – –
    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



  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.


  9. January 19, 2009 9:37 pm

    thanks GSH!

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