"I will hold Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens.
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At some time in the past the singing of Christmas carols was known as 'wassailing'. This term was applied to the custom of a group of people, mainly children, going from house to house and stopping in front of each house to sing a carol, in the hope they would receive a reward.
The word 'wassail' dates back to pre-Christian days and practices and is derived from the Anglo Saxon was hale which was an expression of a wish for good health. This toast was traditionally offered with a drink.
Those well wishers were not alone in the drinking of the toast each of the family members in the household would also share in the spirit of the toast referred to as true fellowship. After each person takes a sip, they were expected to top up the bowl.
There was much care taken to ensure that the wassail bowl remained full throughout the entire seson, from Christmas Eve to Twelfth Night, in the hopes that it would ensure the continuity of good cheer throughout this festive season.
Wassailing was not just done to foster goodwill, but, more for the concern to see nature renew itself after the harsh winter months. Wassailing was believed to magically bestow fertility on the recipient, whether it was a man, a tree or a beast.
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