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Silver Wind
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Join date : 2007-07-18
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PostSubject: Wassailing   Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:28 am

Wassailing is very ancient, the word itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon Wass Hael, meaning to your health. On twelfth night celebrations a bowl known as a wassailing bowl would be filled with a drink known as lambs wool, each person present would drink from the bowl and wish health to the others present. The wassail bowl itself would have been finely decorated with greenery. There are many other traditions and customs concerning wassailing, which shows how popular and deeply entrenched in English society the custom of wassailing was and is. Travellers would be known to sell the contents of wassail cups. Poor people and families would go from house to house with an empty wassail cup singing wassail carols asking for food and drink.They would also carry sticks and branches known as wassail sticks, these wassail sticks like the wassail bowl would have been finely decorated with greenery and ribbons. Another wassail tradition is that of wassailing trees, especially that of apple trees. At dusk time the people wassailing the trees would sing songs and pour cider upon the roots of the trees, and pieces of toast They would also carry sticks and branches known as wassail sticks, these wassail sticks like the wassail bowl would have been finely decorated with greenery and ribbons. Another wassail tradition is that of wassailing trees, especially that of apple trees. At dusk time the people wassailing the trees would sing songs and pour cider upon the roots of the trees, and pieces of toast would be hung from the branches of the trees. Noises were made with horns to scare away evil spirits. It was also a tradition that the people who had been wassailing the trees were not allowed back in to their homes until they had answered a question put to them. That wassailing is still so widely and strongly practised today is evidence of the popularity of this custom throughout the centuries.

http://www.homestead.com/englishheathenism/folkcustoms.html

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