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  • Old English Wassail Toast

      Newhall Farm Apple Products, Ice Cider, AJ's Apple Brandy‘Tis the time of year when nearby Woodstock, Vermont celebrates the holiday season with a traditional Wassail Weekend!  Full of themed events the festivities bring to life some Old English traditions of yesteryear including the wassail drink and toast to good health: waes hael, waes hael!

    Though here it is always celebrated with caroling and a lavish horse parade on the second Saturday of December, around the world Wassail has also been celebrated on Christmas Eve and more traditionally on the Twelfth Night, i.e. January 5 or 6 -- depending on your calendar.

    From the 8th century onward the Old Norse phrase ves heil and the Old English hál --meaning 'be you healthy'-- led to the wassailing celebration of apple trees, with the ritual of drizzling cider on the best branches to ward off evil spirits and ensure a good harvest.

    Old English is considered a "dead" language, which means it is extinct in that no one speaks it any longer for it is found only as written text.

    Just as Newhall Farm helped save the Randall Cattle from extinction they are resurrecting a little bit of history with this original Wassail Toast written in Old English:

     

    Newhall Farm’s Wassail Toast

    Eálá æppel, æppel,

    ùs métaþ þé and þín 

    Gódum. Rúmgifolnes

    sy æghwær and scir.

    Min belg, amber of fower,

    lim, bled, blóstm,

    min heort--min heort,

    sy eower!

     

    Listen here.

     

    Oh apple, apple,

    we dream about you and your

    Goodness. Abundance

    be everywhere and bright.

    My bag, bushel of four,

    limb, branch, blossom,

    my heart--my heart,

    be yours!

     

     
    Thanks to Chris Vaccaro from UVM, University of Vermont, for editorial assistance. @copyright Linda Fondulas 2016
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