in the longstanding tradition of explaining nonsensical-sounding old english traditions at the holidays, i present to you: Wassailing. of course you can go look it up on wikipedia, but they tend to have all the wit and charm of your high school guidance counselor (after they banned smoking in the teacher’s lounge).
Wassail is a traditional strong beverage made from ale and spices, and served in bowls. many modern microbreweries maintain this tradition, at least in part, by producing a Wassail beer for the holidays. usually they are not as strongly spiced as our ancestors would have made, but they are typically high in alcohol relative to normal beer. what you drink it out of is up to you.
this is the part that’s new to me – Wassailing, in the traditional/historical definition, is not merely the gathering together to consume the aforementioned beverage. Wassailing is essentially caroling – going door to door and singing christmas carols, in questionable (and likely dubious) quality, until being paid by the residents to leave their property.
one might imagine that the combination of Wassail with Wassailing would lead to prompt and considerable payment to reduce the infliction of such “singing” upon those within the household.
so in this, the most sacred of holiday seasons, let us all lift a glass (or a bowl) of our respective beverages, and remember how fortunate we all are — that our drunk neighbors are not crooning on our doorsteps for blackmail money.