By: Bears Butt

Watching the snow fall this Christmas Eve and waiting for the time when I need to leave to go pick Sherry up from her work, I started searching the ever knowledgeable internet.  Sometime or another I had heard the word “Wassle”, be it in a song or in a school play or somewhere else.  I had no idea what was meant by “wassle” and so on to the internet.

There are a couple of ways to “wassle” and I’m sure given enough time there will be more ways.

In it’s simplest form I understand that “wassailing” is a form of forcing yourself upon someone for refreshments.  Drinks and food in the day.  It seemed that the servants (peasants) of the richer folks in the areas would break into their masters homes and demand food and drink and if he did not provide it to them they would ramsack his place.  Sounds like Trick or Treating doesn’t it?  These folks seemed to think the master owed them more than he was paying and so this was considered a legal and binding thing to do each year.

They would gather in smallish groups and head down the road singing and dancing and just plain merry making…sort of like our own “going around” that we have traditionally done for the last 40 or so years.  But, unlike the past ancestors of Old time England/Germany/Wales/Switzerland or where ever, we would never think to trash a home that did not provide us with food and good drink.

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering,
So fairly to be seen.
Here we come a-wandering
So fairly to be seen.

Love and joy come to you,
And to you our wassail too,
God bless you and send you,
A Happy New Year,
God send you a Happy New Year.

We are not daily beggars,
That beg from door to door,
But we are neighbours children,
That you´ve seen before.
We are neighbors’ children,
That you´ve seen before.

I wonder what a thief breaking into your home would think if you suddenly began giving him sandwiches and beer.  NAH!  Give him what he deserves, a fast flying chunk of lead.

There is always at least another side to every story and so Wassailing has one as well and like I said earlier, there could be more than the two I mention here and surely in the future there will be other spins put upon it.

The wassailing went into the orchards and the farmers fields.  An old time traditional drink was one made of apple cider and it was heated for the occasion and just like our own rendezvous, someone came in with a twist (apple pie comes to mind), and added cinnamon and slices of lemon and lime.  The kick came from fermenting it before the big night and now I have heard that the kick needs a bit more added and they pour in rum/vodka and assorted other mixes to make sure the wassailers don’t stay awake too long.

The songs of the orchards had phrases that lead one to believe they were singing to assist the trees to make lots more apples for next years harvest for without apples you would not be able to have a very large bowl of good old punch.  A prayer to the apple Gods!

Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
That blooms well, bears well.
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
An’ all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah!

Extending into the flocks of sheep and cattle, wheat fields and the other crops they grew.  Without all of that wassailing would be to no avail.  Food and strong drink!

And so to each of you, I wish Merry Christmas and may God Bless You!


Bears Butt

December 25, 2012  Merry Christmas!



Written on December 25th, 2012 , Uncategorized

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.