Lantern Walk and Twelfth Night Party

To welcome the new year, join us for a Lantern Walk and Twelfth Night party. On Friday, January 5th 2024, meet at 6:30pm at the Highlands Country Store in McDonalds Corners and walk up to MERA. Those who do not wish to walk can meet at the Schoolhouse at 7:00pm for a short musical presentation by the Recorder Consort, a sing-along and games. After the entertainment, mulled cider, hot chocolate, snacks and king’s cake will be served. 

Please bring snacks, games or a musical instrument to join in the fun. People of all ages are welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Ankaret Dean so we will have an idea of numbers.

Let us know if you need transportation.

The pagan origins of a Yuletide cider festival

The term “wassail” can trace its origins to pre-Christian Britain. Anglo-Saxon tradition included a New Year celebration in the halls of the Lord of the Manor, including a mighty feast with a giant bowl of a sort of punch: a mix of cider, ale and mead infused with bountiful spices and crab apples. The Lord would toast those present with the cry of waes hael, meaning “be whole” or “good health”, and the hearty response would be drink hael .  

The idea of wassailing—blessing, toasting, sharing and giving thanks during the Yuletide period—has continued through the centuries. The Victorians seized on its spirit of generosity by endorsing the concept of wassailing from door to door—poorer folk singing songs in return for charitable gifts, rather than begging. This soon morphed into the ever-popular Christmas carolling. And, of course, the much-enjoyed winter warmer, mulled cider