From Magi to Mummers and Wassailing to Wenceslas

Whether your Christmas is bah humbug! or a childish delight in lighting the advent candles and eating mince pies, it is almost the night before the night before “when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse“.

Magi,Mummers, Wassailing

Christmas or the mid-winter festival is a celebration for the 21st century offering the consumer an array of choices for everyone from the grumpy puritan, taking the moral high ground railing against commercialism, materialism and any other …ism, to the carousing hedonist bent on celebrating everything from Saturnalia to Twelfth Night. You can pick the spiritual or the secular and you can chose whether you celebrate Christmas Day on 25th December or 6th January or if you adhere to the Julian calendar on 7th or 19th January. You can also include the feast day of Anastasia of Sirmium (patron saint of potions – medicinal not alcoholic) or Newtonmas ( Isaac Newton’s birthday on the Julian calendar) on December 25th (Gregorian calendar).

The early Church pragmatically incorporated the local pagan winter festivals into Christmas and we have  continued the practice of adopting a whole range of global customs into our traditions. So whilst the romantic delusion of the Dickensian Christmas bears little relation to the medieval Yuletide we are free to chose from both and customise. So whether you prefer a boar’s head, turkey (bronze free range or supermarket frozen), goose or nut roast, a Christmas tree (real or artificial), fairy lights or candles and whether your celebrations are devout, debauched or something in-between – enjoy and prosper.

Happy Christmas & New Year

The Croft Gardeners – Himself & Apprentice

Pieter. Bruegel. the. Elder: Peasant. Wedding. Feast,. c. 1567
Pieter. Bruegel. the. Elder: Peasant. c. 1567

17 thoughts on “From Magi to Mummers and Wassailing to Wenceslas

  1. That is the most wonderful message – thank you! Wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas too!

  2. Happy Christmas / Saturnalia / general mid-winter light festival!

    • I shall be celebrating everything. However as we have no trees I am relying on you to do a good job on the wassailing. Waes hael!

  3. Entertaining, humorous and informative – as always! May Himself and Apprentice celebrate in any of the ways mentioned, as long as they have a fun time! I look fwd to your wonderful blog and posts in the coming year. Merry Christmas and Happy 2013.

    • Thank you Astrid you are unfailingly generous.

  4. Some of my favorite things!

  5. Shirley

    You’ve just about covered it all and in such a lovely way.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  6. Hmm ….. I don’t think it can really be you sitting under the hanging ‘pot plant’, praying fervently that the guests will enjoy their Scandinavian fish soup and kringle wreath/bread pudding. I think you are hiding behind the drapes, observing the scene, ready to paint your next literary picture, full of pithy witticisms and quotations to educate and amuse us into the new year and beyond. Himself, in his role as Master Baker, is out of the picture, supervising the distribution of produce from the kitchens to the guests. Thanks for for your delightful posts and comments over the last few months, Chris; I have enjoyed our ding-dongs and look forward to many more. Enjoy your Christmas period and the traditions you and Himself have adopted in your Hebridean home, whatever they may be. With very best wishes, Cathy

    • Thank you Cathy. I think you might be disappointed it’s going to be all very traditional this year, but with Himself as Master Chef it will be an epicurean extravaganza – I’ll probably still be washing-up up on Twelfth Night.
      I too have had a great time reading your blogs and the craic has been great fun and made laugh. Have a great Christmas and New Year with your family and I’ll look forward to more banter next year.

      • Are you not trusted even to peel the potatoes? Or have you been instructed to sit back with your feet up and a glass of wine while the Master Chef/Baker Himself waits on you hand and foot in recognition of all your hard work during the year 🙂
        Enjoy the day, and I look forward to a full twelve months of banter in 2013

  7. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! I hope it’s a good one x

    • Thank you it will be. There is no Christmas Tree, evergreen boughs or swags but there is enough candle power to necessitate a special dispensation from HM Coastguard.

  8. Now is the Saturnalia Season!

    • Ho ho ho Calvin! The sun is definitely over the yard arm, so let the festivities begin.

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