on January 28, 2011 by Austin in News, Comments (0)

Wassail Successfully Applied To Trees, People

Twelfth Night was celebrated again this year with a wassailing of trees.  The ritual, first observed last year with a wassailing of the cherry trees in Dragon Park, was done with a bit more respect to the classical heritage thanks to a combination of PatchO’Black, Jellicle deer, offering the apple-pie trees in the Winter Wonderland, and Christopher, feline, clarifying parts of the ritual.

It had been understood the festival involved the preparing of wassail — made with cider and nutmeg and sugar, and slices of apples — to drink and to toast apple trees, and to pour on the trees for a productive year.  Chitter, squirrel, noted this implied that “to convince the trees to produce, you mock them with a drink made of their unborn children?”

Following questions about whether the pouring of wassail onto trees was to be accompanied by any particular toast, Christopher helpfully called out “Waes thu hael,” and explained, “The phrase served double duty as toast and greeting both back in the days when King Aelfred fought the Danes.”  Several approximations of “waes thu hael” came close to getting the phrase right over the course of the night.

Despite some confusion about what was to be done and in what order most visitors partook in either the traditional wassail or the non-alcoholic version offered for tee- and tree-totalers.  BunnyHugger, devilbunny and host, wondered if the cherry trees wassailed in Dragon Park in 2010 — the apple-pie trees were not known about — had been particularly productive and if so, of what.

Annon, leading sales rat, put in a cherished appearance as he reminded all of the tradition of severe financial penalties applying for those who were inadequately prepared for wassailing.

In the midst of ceremonies Beltrami, balloon dragoness, stripped the red and green Christmas colorings from Austin, coati, and left him in an “Arctic Coati” form of white and black.

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