I grew up thinking I knew what Wassailing was. That is such a strange word. What exactly is a wassal and why would you want to wassail it? Ya, to explain it to the young we were always told that we were going caroling. For most of us it would end there, an old antiquated term that simply means going out to sing Christmas carols.
But like many things it is actually an important tradition that cemented our community life. And like many of these traditions, it is centered around beer and good alcoholic drinks.
The book Radical Brewing by Randy Moshier has a great section about winter/Christmas beers. One of the things he mentions is the Wassail. I had to check around a bit more as well. Seems Wikipedia has a bit of information but it does feel a bit sketchy.
The word wassail can be broken down to mean be well or be healthy. Many times said as a toast it is still come to drink to the health of those we love.
During the winter solstice and winter celebrations there were traditions of anointing the trees and such with the best of the harvest. The apple trees that gave the community cider were given a portion of the special brew made for the celebrations.
Mead, ale, and cider were the common beverages used to make the special drink for this purpose. Wine came with the expansion of the Roman Empire into Northern Europe. (They had to educate those beer brewing barbarians).
Much like now the cultures at the time were melting pots of the various cultures coming together. It was King Haakon who decreed that Yuletide happen around the same time as Christian Christmas. He also prescribed what the official Yule or wassail beverage should be (a non hopped beer).
I just thought I would share some interesting stuff as we come into the Yule season. With that I wish you be well.
Time for a pint…
Dropship Troopers is on sale over at Smashwords. This is a great time to pick up one of my books at a big discount. Between now and Christmas Eve you can pick it up for $.99 with coupon code LE37V.
This is a great time to support my work and pick up a great ebook stocking stuffer.