As we move through the dark nights of winter and towards a New Year we're looking forward to celebrating with some wassailling. There is a wonderful variety in the winter traditions known as wassail and we'll be taking part in a good mix of them.
For instance, on the evening of Friday 28th December 2012, Jones' Ale Soul Cakers will be hosting their Winter Wassail at the Cross Keys, Lower Bridge Street in Chester. It's an evening of winter songs, storytelling, and music as well as performing their folk play dating back to 1788.
Then as dusk falls at 4pm on Saturday 12th January 2013, marking (one of the several dates for) Old New Year, there will be Apple Tree Wassailling at Stretton Watermill near Malpas pouring cider on the roots of the old apple tree, hanging toast in the branches for the birds and making loud noises to drive off the witches and thereby ensure a good harvest in the coming year. This is all marked with much merriment and mulled cider before heading off for more music at the nearby Carden Arms pub.
On Saturday 19th January 2013 there is perhaps the biggest wassail of the season, the Chepstow Mari Lwyd and Wassail organised by the Widders Morris Men where through the afternoon and evening there will be apple tree wassailing, folk plays, dancing from many morris sides, Mari Lwyd mischief and a ceremonial meeting of the Welsh and English at the middle of the old bridge over the Wye.
So, winter really is a season to get together and celebrate our old traditions. Wassail!!