Saturday, 31 December 2016

Wassailing or Wasseling

New orchard Alexandra recreation ground Berrylands
Peri-urban habitats in the south of the borough are radically altered; but orchards can maintain a wonderful wildlife habitat. The longer grass between trees can be a haven for wildflowers and insects; surplus fruit is appreciated by  winter  Scandanavian thrushes (redwings and fieldfares). There are some excellent blogs on orchards and their wildlife.

See also with excellent posts from K. Leibreich on the situation in south-west London fruit growing stronghold in Chiswick and Isleworth. is an account of wassailing in an Oxfordshire village.

The tradition of wassailing (also wasselling) into two distinct categories: The house-visiting wassail and the orchard-visiting wassail. The house-visiting wassail is the practice of people going door-to-door, singing and offering a drink from the punch bowl (as at Pensford Fields). This practice has largely been displaced by carol singing. The orchard-visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards -usually in cider-producing regions reciting incantation and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year. Sometimes toast adorns the branches of orchard trees.Traditionally, the wassail is celebrated on twelth night ( either January 5 or 6). Some people still wassail on "Old Twelvey Night", January 17, as it would have been before the introduction of the Gregorian Calender in 1752.

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