Here we come a-wassailing
[ … ] Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New
Traditions are so precious for our homes during the Christmas season.
They remind us of how our grandparents served green bean casserole, and guide us in how we light candles for those who came before us.
When families bring the traditions of their parents into their homes, they are not concerned about worshiping the past, but rather see the preservation of the future.
I love listening to the endless varieties of traditions which make up American culture.
From the celebration of Advent, to bringing in mistletoe and the endless array of feasting each family brings from their heritage.
I have many friends from many different countries, and I have noticed that we all do one thing similarly:
No, not the tree!
There is one drink we all have, and yet it is called by different names.
For some it is Russian Tea, but for most of us it is called Wassail.
Yet, Wassail is made differently in every house, despite the common name!
So, what is it?? Where did it come from?? Why do we all know the smell of Wassail in the kitchen, but we don’t know who came up with this idea? Is it a new idea, or has this been around for ages??
Anglo-Saxon tradition dictated that at the beginning of each year, the lord of the manor would greet the assembled multitude with the toast waes hael, meaning “be well” or “be in good health”, to which his followers would reply drink hael, or “drink well”, and so the New Year celebrations would start with a glass or two, or perhaps even a drop more! […]
Depending upon the area of the country where you lived, the wassail drink itself would generally consist of a warmed ale, wine or cider, blended with spices, honey and perhaps an egg or two, all served in one huge bowl and passed from one person to the next with the traditional “wassail” greeting.
This is very different from the spiced apple cider tea I would ladle out of my mother’s crock pot!
The tradition I know is sitting in someone’s front room with a mug of Wassail and waiting until it wasn’t lava-hot so you could finally drink it. This is a far cry from the original tradition of wandering the streets with a bucket of Wassail and singing on doorsteps!
With this in mind, how else can we incorporate the different Wassail tradition into our homes this holiday season?