“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.
Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.”

~ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What is a Wassail Anyway?

I grew up singing that song 'Here we come a-wassailing . . .' but never knew what the heck it meant. So this year I decided to check into it and see what it means and what it means in a Yule celebration kind of way.

Wassail ~ A salutation or toast given in drinking someone's health or as an expression of goodwill at a festivity; the drink used in such toasting, commonly ale or wine spiced with roasted apples and sugar; a festivity characterized by much drinking.
In centuries past, villagers or townspeople got together in groups and went from door to door, singing and drinking to the health of their neighbors. This concept actually harkens back to pre-Christian fertility rites - except in those ceremonies, villagers traveled through their fields and orchards in the middle of winter, singing and shouting to drive away any spirits that might inhibit the growth of future crops. As part of this, they poured wine and cider on the ground to encourage fertility in the crops. Eventually, this evolved into the idea of Christmas caroling, which became popular during the Victorian era, and is still seen today in many areas.

While I'm not sure about going out in the middle of winter and pouring cider all over the apple trees in the neighborhood, I sure don't mind drinking a cup or two of wassail. Enjoy!

Crockpot Wassail

8 cups apple juice or cider
2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
2 oranges
Whole cloves
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Nugmet
3 cinnamon sticks (or 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon)
1/2 cup - 1 cup brandy (optional)

Turn the crockpot on high and pour in the apple cider (or juice) and cranberry juice. Mix in the honey and sugar until dissolved. Stud the oranges with the cloves (25 to 30 should do the trick) and place in the pot. Add the diced apple, Allspice, Ginger and Nutmeg. Finally, snap the cinnamon sticks in half and add those as well. Cover the pot and cook on high for 1 hour. Change the setting to low and allow to simmer for 3 more hours. About half an hour prior to serving, add the Brandy if you choose to use it.

Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green.
Here we come a-wand'ring so fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
and to all your wassail, too,
may the Gods bless you, and send you a Happy New Year,
the Gods send you a Happy New Year.

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Faerie Sage said...

Ohh this sounds soo amazing! What a wonderful recipe.

Cinner said...

Very interesting and anything I can do in a crock pot, I am there. and now I know what the word means. thank you. have a great weekend.

Sares said...

Hi Teresa! I've been thinking about you lately since I pulled out my little wooden joy heart I won in your giveaway. I hope the holiday season is treating you well and thanks for the wassail lesson, I didn't know exactly what it was and the recipe sounds delicious!

Plumrose Lane said...

What a wonderful post Teresa! I had no idea what this meant either and now you've resolved my curiosity. Love the recipe you included too, reminds me of a spiced cider I make each year only even more delicious, so we'll have to try it ~ thanks!