LET'S GO WASSAILING!
The custom of wassailing dates back to pagan times but has enjoyed a minor resurgence in recent years as reconnection and cider has gained popularity!
In this folk custom, the wassail queen (or king) leads a parade to a tree, often the oldest in the orchard. The tradition arose to to wake the fruit trees from their winter slumber to ensure a good harvest in the year to come. When they arrive at the tree, they dip a piece of toast in some mulled cider which is lifted and placed in the boughs of the tree to attract favorable spirits. More mulled cider is then poured round the base of the tree, and unwanted spirits are scared away with loud noises – such as sticks banged together. Then the tree is serenaded with laughter and music by the crowd.
The name Wassail comes from a custom at the beginning of the new Anglo-Saxon year, the lord of the manor would greet the assembled multitude with the toast waes hael–“Be well” to which the reply is drink hael,or “drink well”.
SUN WINTER SOLSTICE COUNTDOWN
Looking for ways to celebrate the season?
Solstice is a Latin word meaning "to stand still." During this time of transition from autumn to winter, it really may seem as though the sun does 'stand still' for a period of many days.
Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals celebrating the death and rebirth of the Sun. There is a quiet hush at this point of the year. It can seem almost as if all of Nature is holding its breath.
In this activity, you will begin 10 days before the solstice by having all ten triangles folded into the center of the decagon. Each day you fold back one triangle, and when you reach the Winter Solstice you will have a full sun! Welcome back, sun!
LET'S CLOUD WATCH TOGETHER!
Children are fascinated by nature discovery. When families revisit natural wonders through the eyes of children, they are often reminded that life is still infinitely remarkable.
Use this digital download and some simple recycled materials to create your own cloud viewer that you can use over and over again!