Whilst writing A Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas, I discovered what it means to wassail. I'd like to say that I did this by travelling from house to house, demanding food and drink in return for a few verses of whatever carol I can remember at the time. However, I actually did so from the comfort of my home and (you'll be pleased to hear) remained completely sober.
Did you know, for example, that wassail comes from the Old English 'waes hael' meaning 'be healthy'? Or that the expression 'to drink a toast' originates with the custom of wassailing?
Of course, I can't reveal all the secrets of the wassail here - you'll have to wait until A Christmas Miscellany is published to discover the truth behind our best loved Christmas traditions. But, once again, in the meantime I've found a (I admit, slightly twee) treat for you to tide you over until Christmastide, when wassailing can begin again with a vengeance!
The Real History of Christmas Ornaments
2 weeks ago