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Christmas ~ Somerset Wassail ~ Artisan

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Uploaded on Nov 30, 2009

'Somerset Wassail' by Artisan ~ Wassaiing is a set of customs broadly concerning wishing a prosperous and fruitful year to neighbours and friends, their domestic animals and their crops. Somerset, in particular, has a custom of wassailing the apple trees to produce a fruitful crop of apples for cider-making. Each year on the 17th of January (old "Twelfth Night") the people of Somerset wassail their apple trees by placing toast (dipped in cider) into the branches of the tree and pouring a libation of cider round the rood of the tree for the good spirits, then firing shotguns into the branches of the tree to dive away the bad spirits and so ensure a fine crop of cider apples in the summer ahead. Yes, it still happens, even in the twenty-first century. This particular Somerset Wassail is of unknown origin, but was collected by Cecil Sharp.

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Video produced by Allcast for blue dot music
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