"It's Thaaaat Time of Year..." Should we see how many Christmas songs we can reference in this post? No? Okay.
This Thursday, our fantastic little town of New Braunfels, Texas, is putting on yet another amazing festival that makes all the neighboring cities jealous and flock to join in the fun. It's Wassailfest, guys!! The time when downtown businesses make great vats of their personal tried and tested best Wassail recipe and hand out warm cups to crowds milling around with their chums in the newly twinkle-lit sparkling downtown. It's a joyous, jolly, (thinly veiled) holiday battle for the public's vote as BEST WASSAIL. A "can't miss" event of the New Braunfels holiday season.
Let me throw some facts at you though. Did you know this mulled wine, this wassail we so love, is not originally from Germany?! Shock! Horror! Gasps from the crowd and fainting from the ladies at the back! Indeed! We, the fully German community of New Braunfels honor a non-German beverage. Don't worry, though! Our Wurstfest, German Heritage Society, Germistachor, Krauses, Kindermasken Parade, huge painted murals of our German heritage, Alpine Haus, collection of traveling accordian players, Folk Fest (celebrating our early German settlers), lederhosen for sale in many downtown shops, German American Society, etc. (what did I miss?), will so overwhelm any Wassailfest visitors with German-itude they won't even notice.
The word "Wassail" comes from the Old English word "Hal", which is related to the Anglo-Saxon greeting, "was hal", meaning "be healthy" or "be fortunate" in modern day speak. It was drunken past times from these big huge bowls as a part of a medieval Christmas-time drinking ritual to ensure a good apple harvest (for making the ciders) in the next year. There is one legend (probably apocryphal) that wassailing was created when a beautiful Saxon maiden named Rowena presented Prince Vortigen (5th centery warlord in Britain) with a bowl of wine while toasting him with the words 'was hal'.
(look here's a lead-glazed ceramic one from 1682 from the Victoria and Albert Museum!)
(Remember that year it snowed? 😍)
This year at Wassailfest, in addition to the delicious food, aaamazing mulled wine/cider (and the kid safe versions), community carol sing-along, and night market (Christmas gift shopping time!), Wade Bowen is set to perform a holiday-themed "Night of Cheer" concert starting at 8:30 pm at the Shiner Beer Stage at the corner of San Antonio and Market streets. The concert, as well as any concession booths operated by the New Braunfels Downtown Association, will raise funds which will be donated to the non-profit organizations that lost their booths in the recent Marketplatz fire at Wurstfest that broke all New Braunfels residents hearts.
All the festivities begin at 6:00 pm and will be amazing. You can quote me on that. "GoodEatsNBTX predicts that everything will be amazing!" Because how could it not?!!
"Was hal" to each and every one of you. <3