In Somerset, England, for Old Twelvey Night
© Guy Edwardes/Minden Picture
Mist on the moors. A-wassailing we go
Somewhere under that dense fog, the people of Somerset county in southwest England may be marching from house to house, singing songs and dancing, and asking for a drink or snack in return. If that sounds like Christmas caroling, you’re right. But it’s the English tradition of wassailing—a practice that usually takes place on Twelfth Night, which marks the coming of the Epiphany and takes place on January 5 or 6. So why do the people living in this farmland moor wassail on January 17? Because in Somerset, the locals observe the pre-Gregorian calendar Twelfth Night, which falls on January 17. They may even stage an ‘apple wassail’ with a trip to a local cider orchard, to sing and make noise for a good harvest in the new year.