Wassail, anyone? Send out Christmas in style with some Twelfth night festivities
Bio: Having written for a range of trade and consumer publications, Victoria brings her love of all things local to the role of HugoFox News Editor.
The Christmas cake’s long gone, the unwanted presents are stored in a cupboard never again to see the light of day and there are more needles on the carpet than on the tree – but if you think Christmas is over, think again! Here at HugoFox News HQ, we’re all merrily chomping on reduced mince pies and bearing our festive jumpers, because as far as we’re concerned, Christmas isn’t officially concluded until the twelfth night, Saturday the 5th January. In the fast-paced 21st Century, we can forget the old age traditions which keep Christmas alive that little bit longer, but here at HugoFox News, we’re taking advantage of the Twelfth Night festivities.
The historical ideas of Twelfth Night suggest that the Christmas period is not over until the twelve days of Christmas are concluded on 5th January. In some sectors of Christianity, Twelfth Night marks the coming of the Epiphany; a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ.
One Twelfth Night tradition which has stuck in today’s society is the taking down of Christmas decorations. It is said to be unlucky to keep your decorations up longer than the 5th January and many British people continue to ensure their tree is down before this date each year. But what else remains of the history of Twelfth Night?
Food and drink festivities and merrymaking are at the centre of the celebrations in modern times with old traditions such as the Twelfth-cake and Wassail punch still key on the menu. The Twelfth-cake was traditionally supposed to contain a bean and a pea, so that those who ate the special slices would become designated king and queen of the festivities, and Wassail is a warming punch very similar to mulled cider.
However, Wassail means more than a just hot drink. Many regions across the country host Wassail events each year to conclude the Christmas holiday and scare off evil spirits. This New Year, there are a huge number of Wassailing events taking place throughout the UK and HugoFox News have selected the best events for you to choose from.
The National Trust is hosting it’s first ever Wassail event in Lacock Abbey in Chippenham, Wiltshire on 18th January and invites everybody in the area to bring a pot or pan and a wooden spoon to help scare the evil spirits out of the Abbey’s apple trees. Including live music, fresh soup and Wassail punch, the event welcomes everybody of all ages to ring in a fruitful year in the traditional way that
people have been doing for centuries. This is an excellent opportunity to experience Lacock Abbey grounds at night, but remember it is still January, so do come prepared and wrap up warm for this wonderful outdoor festivity. The event costs just £8 for adults and £4 for children, including refreshments, and starts at 7pm. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out.
The small parish of Hartley Wintney in Hook, Hampshire is also hosting it’s annual Wassail with a performance from the Hook Eagle Morris Men. The event will take place on 4th January at 7pm at The Waggon and Horses pub. Help ward off Hartley Wintney demons by singing and dancing with the morris men. Newcomers are welcome, whether you’re a novice, dancer or musician, or just plain incapable. It’s a great chance to get dressed up and dance away the evil spirits, as well as those post-Christmas blues. The Wassail event is free, so if you’re near Hampshire, get involved.
Elsewhere in Hampshire, Manor Farm Country Park in Bursledon, Southampton will be hosting a Twelfth Night Wassail and Mummers Play on 6th January at 12pm. Join the crowd of eager Wassailers for a day of Hampshire traditions including Wassailing the apple trees at Manor Farm, before watching a Mummers Play, or seasonal folk play, featuring olde Father Christmas. This is a great idea for
a fun day out, especially for families. Get a family ticket for two adults and two children for £19 or two adults and three children for £22. Single tickets are £6 or £5 concessions with children under 4 going free.
There will be something for everybody this Twelfth Night, so get back into the festivities and send out the Christmas period in true Wassailing fashion. For details of the events we have to offer, see HugoFox event listings.