Wassailing



Wassailing is an old English folk custom going back hundreds of years. It is a ceremony that takes place in an apple orchard. Its purpose is to awaken the spirit of the tree in the heart of winter and ask it to provide a bountiful crop in the coming harvest. Basically, the ceremony requires a Wassail King and Queen, who lead others in song, while in the orchard. The Wassail Queen is then lifted up, into a apple tree, to place a piece of toast soaked in Wassail, a type of hard apple cider, as a gift to the tree spirit. The crowd will then sing and shout, bang pans and generally make a terrible noise to frighten off any bad spirits. The crowd will then move on to the next apple orchard, to repeat the ceremony. In England, these ceremonies are becoming all the rage again. Every year, I hint to my wife that I would like to take the family out to the orchard to perform our own little Wassailing ceremony. It is always met with the same look, Oh, dear, I married an eccentric. We have yet to get out into the orchard for our own Wassailing ceremony. I will probably have to invite some male friends to get the ceremony performed. I am sure it will be no problem because hard cider, gregarious behavior and having the spirit of a seventh grade boy is all that is required.

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