It’s the twelfth day of Christmas, it’s time for a wassail! Wassailing is an old English tradition dating back to the middle ages. In rural areas, it involved going out on twelfth night and blessing the fruit trees by drinking and singing to their good health, in the hope of a good harvest. Another variant of the tradition involved going from house to house singing wassails, to bring good wishes to neighbours (from Old English ‘was hál’ meaning ‘be hale’). These customs have been kept up or revived, in various parts of England. So, to wish you good health in the coming year, I bring you Here We Come a Wassailing sung here by Kate Rusby, from her album ‘Sweet Bells’.
To find out more about wassailing and whereabouts in England it’s all happening, have a look at this article by Jon Wilks (which contains details and locations of wassails) on tradfolk. To read about the history of wassailing (and the wassail bowl) look at this on the National Trust website.
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