Sunday, 8 January 2012


I’ve been wassailing today, I’ve danced with my clog side, the local morris team danced and we wassailed the trees, finished off with a Mumming play.
Sound the trumpet!

 We started off with dancing and singing Wassailing songs and then walked with lanterns to the orchard.

 In the orchard we lit a fire, sang another song and then wassailed the trees. Everyone made as much noise as possible with rattles, shakers and party poppers and beat the trees (gently!) with sticks. Cider was poured over the trees and toast soaked in cider was stuck onto the branches. All evil spirits should have been scared out of the trees and a good crop of apples (and plums) ensured for this year – job done!
Toast on a tree

 The Mummers did a traditional play with St George and the Turkish knight having a battle.
A pharoe supervises the battle

Although I’ve done this before I’d never noticed some of the words in the wassailing songs, I suppose it’s only when something’s on your mind that you see it. Two of the three wassailing songs mention my herbal aly; elder, but I don't know the significance.

Here We Come A Wassailing

1.       Here we come a Wassailing among the leaves so green
Here we come a wassailing so as to be seen


Love and joy come to you, and to your wassail too
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year

And God send you a Happy New Year

2.       Our wassail it is made from the elderberry tree
Our ale it is made from the best barley


Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown

Our cup is made from the elderberry tree
And so my good neighbours we’ll drink to thee

Drink to thee, drink to thee
And so good neighbours we’ll drink to thee

Wassail everyone!


  1. Oh how fun!! I sure wish I could have been there! Awww that is so cool that your ally elder popped up in verse! nice! xxx

  2. Sounds great fun, Jackie! I've taken a look at other versions of the General wassailing song - this was collected by Ralph Vaughn Williams from The North Country and uses rosemary tree for the bowl. Cecil Sharp collected the Gloucestershire Wassail and versions from Somerset and those both have bowls made from white maple. I suspect there may be something going on in regards to the "magical properties" by mentioning elder or rosemary since neither woods are actually suitable for making a bowl and certainly not one as large as a wassail bowl. Given that elder is the Mother tree and should be respectfully asked for permission before doing anything, it might be something like that. Might be worth asking your band where they got their lyrics and checking with people from other areas to see if they have a different tree.

  3. That's so interesting, does anyone else know of any other trees mentioned?