Earlier this month, when I was thinking ahead to our Yuletide traditions, I thought about things we might add. I have always appreciated the old rite of Wassailing, where cider mulled with spices and spirits, eggs, cake or bread and fruit was given as an offering to the trees in the orchards, in hopes of a good harvest in the new year. And since our largest apple tree in our little urban orchard took a hit in the Halloween snowstorm, our trees were in my thoughts.
But only the rituals that are meaningful to everyone in the family, or truly feel authentic to you, will become traditions. It's very appropriate to alter rituals in a way that speaks to you, personally. That's why, when I brought up wassailing to the kids and told them my idea of making wassail and yes, going out into the garden to sing to the trees and offer their roots a drink, they rolled their eyes, some. Mostly they launched into a song about waffles (around here, we call this The Adam & Olivia Show). You know, because wassail, waffles...it was only natural.
So that is how it came to be that on the longest night, on Solstice, we had Waffles and Wassail. Why not? Waffles are like cake or bread. Ours, at least, are round like the sun, so present in our thoughts on these short days, and waffles are even honeycombed like summer's honey source. So we made up a pot of soft apple cider, mulled with spices and oranges. Some year (maybe this year, yet), I want to make this wonderful recipe for Traditional Wassail.) We had homemade apple sauce, too.
While Alex cooked up a big batch of waffles, we all took turns adding cloves to the remaining oranges to make fragrant pomander balls for our Solstice centerpiece. We lit candles and gathered at the table, where Adam toasted us all, as we clinked our mugs of cider together. And then the kids sang the Do You Like Waffles? song. (And to my children, have a look at this.)
After dining on waffles and apple sauce, we took the remaining wassail outside with us to sing to the trees and offer their roots a drink. I think we just created a new tradition; one that feels like ours.
And a Blessed Solstice to you and may you have a fruitful harvest in the New Year!