The Most Fun You Can Have in January Without Leaving the Country!

Categories: Music | News

The fourth Stroud Wassail is taking place on the 14th January 2017. This year the event itself is to be preceded by Stroud Wassailers visiting pubs and restaurants. Stroud Wassailers will be singing songs, performing plays and generally entertaining in exchange for collecting food and money on behalf of the Stroud Food Bank.

Says Steve Rowley, member of the Wassail Committee: “We aim to enhance the community spirit in Stroud. The Wassail is about getting people singing, dancing and generally having a good time. It is about wishing your neighbours success and good fortune for the year ahead. It is also about giving to those in need in the area.”

On Saturday, the fun starts at 10 o’clock in the morning with dancing and mumming plays taking place in a number of locations around Stroud. At 12:30 the Wassail procession will make its way around the town centre. The Wassail itself will take place at the entrance to the Subscription Rooms. First the Lord of Misrule will read a declaration and demand entrance for all of the wassailers. This will be followed by singing and by the dancing of the “broad” and hobby horse.

At 3.30, the Wassail will also be performed outside of the Museum in the Park.

The day will be finished off by traditional 12th night Revels inside the Subscription Rooms from 7 p.m. The Revels offer ceilidh dancing, concert spots from a variety of singers and bands, mummers plays poetry readings, a “parade of beasts” and riotous communal singing.

The Stroud Wassail is a new winter festival to wish you a healthy and prosperous new year. In one of the darkest days of the year, the town will be brought to life with wassail songs, colourful costumes, music, morris dancing, wassail bowls, hobby horses and The Broad. The Stroud Wassail is based upon documents found in the Stroud Museum and upon the recorded reminiscences of people in a Stroud pub back in the 1970s. We think that, previously, wassailing was carried out in Stroud up until the 1920s.

The origins of wassailing are over 1000 years old, as a toast to wish your companions good health. In some parts of the country, wassailing has become associated with apples and cider, however, in the Stroud area it is a tradition of visiting neighbours around 12th night with a wassail bowl and a song, to wish them a prosperous new year.

You will hear the cry “Waes Hael” several times during the Wassail. When you hear it, please shout back “Drink Hael”. If you can, please dress up for the wassail. Look here http://stroudwassail.com/ to see what people did last year.

But please, above all else, enjoy yourself!

The Glostrad project has some 17 wassail songs noted from different parts of the county. These can be found on www.glostrad.com together with midi files and, in some cases, full arrangements for community choirs.

The Revels and workshops are ticketed events. Tickets can be obtained from the Stroud Subscription Rooms: http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/

For more information and photographs, please contact Robin Burton on 07843 241371 or send an email to robin@robinburton.co.uk