Like many traditions, caroling harkens back to olden times. On Twelfth Night, people in the apple growing regions of southern and western England gathered in orchards for wassailing. Because wages were often paid in apple cider, a bountiful harvest was necessary for the livelihood of the landowner and laborers. Dancing and singing traditional songs, the people paraded through the orchards pouring apple cider on the trees and settling cider soaked bread on branches to chase away evil spirits. They toasted the apple trees with a hearty “waes hael” (good health.)
Today, families and friends keep the tradition alive with a night of caroling. Like the ancients, they walk through neighborhoods singing favorite carols and perhaps stopping for food and drink.
Unlike the ancients, carolers today may be walking on cold nights and icy sidewalks. Keep these winter walking tips in mind.
- Bundle up in coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.
- Wear sensible, warm, waterproof boots for snowy or very cold nights.
- Dress in layers.
- Stay hydrated. Carry a thermos with water or hot cocoa.
- Carry a battery operated lantern or a flashlight to light the walk and to be seen by drivers. Be visible.
Have a great time!