Home > Life, Writing and Poetry > Can You Wassail?

Can You Wassail?

There are times when subjects for an article, essay, or blog post collide with one’s mind and derail it from whatever intended destination anticipated. This morning is the perfect example.

I’d intended to compare the use of vocabulary in literary work and that of mass-media offerings. That’s when it happened.

I was doing a morning run down my FB main street when I came upon a post by a writer friend telling us that she’s going wassailing tonight. I slowed down enough to make a reply, without pausing more than a nanosecond to consider each of her words for individual sounds or meaning, and began to pull away from the curb.

An imperative stop sign flashed before my interior eyeballs without regard for the shock I might experience. My mind had flashed on the Christmas carol about “going wassailing,” the tune began playing at full volume along with a group of merry singers, and I focused on the fact that I’d always wondered what that phrase meant and had never taken the time to pursue the subject.

TaDa! My fate was sealed. I suddenly had to find out what “wassailing” was and get the song out of my head for the rest of the day. God help me if it’s on the radio today. I’ll be lost for at least 24 hrs.

Google came to the rescue again. I found the site  http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/wassailing.shtml  and learned that “wassail” referred to a specific drink that was mixed and served in a bowl, usually of silver or pewter, and drunk at Winter Solstice. A recipe was offered for those who wanted to begin their own celebration.

This centuries-old tradition of roaming around a neighborhood, punch cup in hand, sampling from everyone’s bowl of cheer, seemed a very good way of spending an evening with friends and those on the block. I began wondering how many such meandering block parties would send up peals of laughter and cheer tonight around the country and if specific regions of the country would be more likely to entertain themselves in this way on this night.

I told Sis about my discovery and that we should think about starting our own tradition of wassailing next year. After all, it’s a bit late to begin today, the wallet a bit too flat, and how many neighbors could we invite at this late date? That promising recipe will have to wait until next year to spark a happy new enjoyment for us.

For those who are going wassailing tonight, have a cup of cheer for me, toast to new traditions, old friends, hopeful outcomes, and blessings for all.

A bientot and a Happy Holiday season to all, regardless of celebrations,


  1. Christine Sanfilippo
    December 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    enjoyed your blog Claudette- that would be a wonderful way to spend an evening with neighbors. I love to sing though i’m not sure how many appreciate listening to my “lovely” voice! as you said next year for its a bit to late for this year.

    • claudsy
      December 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      I think that sometimes we need to have a tradition like this that we’ve never had before. It allows us to feel as if we’ve observed something different but wholesome and fun, and which expands our daily lives as well.

      Thanks, Christine. I hope your holiday was as peaceful as ours.

  2. January 16, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Notable write up. Continue to keep up the very notable work.

    • claudsy
      January 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks, Bethann. I wasn’t working toward “notable,” but I’ll take that assessment.


  1. January 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

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