Rhonda Parrish was great enough to let me be involved in her Giftmas Blog Tour this year. There will be (at least) one blog a day, and she’s linking to all of them, so check them out.
I hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to enter the give away (at the bottom of Virginia’s blog). The prizes are truly amazing!
Wassailing and Christmas Carols
By Virginia Carraway Stark
There are so many parts of Christmas that are a ton of fun and that bring back fond memories and nostalgia but for me there is nothing that makes me as happy as my memories of Christmas Caroling when I was a child.
I love to sing and Christmas Songs are some of the most wonderful of songs for the sheer joy in them. Caroling goes back a long long ways and it runs fierce in my Celtic blood to sing in the darkest part of the year and bring back the sun with the call of my exuberance.
Caroling took many forms when I was little and usually the caroling, or Wassailing as it was called in the old days would last for many days. We would go to the Nursing Homes, to the Hospital and door-to-door where we would often be rewarded with warm drinks and warm conversation. The most notable and unusual sort of wassailing was a sort of modified winter hay ride. My Dad was a truck driver and he would hitch up the low bed to the back of his semi-truck and load it up with hay bales. We could pack a hundred Wassailers on the back of the low bed and we slowly traversed the city streets, lit up with Christmas lights and singing at the top of our lungs as people came out to see the spectacle and to join in with the singing. One year when we had our draft horses and a sleigh I was blessed to go wassailing in our rural area in an actual horse drawn sleigh, something I think very very few people can say they have done in this day and age.
Caroling seems to largely have fallen by the wayside as cynicism has made people dread the holidays more and more. People hide from Carolers rather than welcoming them in for warm drinks and many people are just too self conscious to sing.
It wasn’t always like that though. I remember at the hospital people coming out of their rooms to see us, bundled up for winter and rosy-cheeked and grinning as we would break into song. They would smile and find a place to sit down. Being in the hospital or a nursing home for Christmas has to be one of the most dreary things in the world but we shared our joy and brought some of the outside world into their sorrowful world and made a difference in their day.
The history of Wassailing goes back a long ways. People used to go Wassailing to the Lords and Ladies houses where they would be rewarded with good food, drink and usually a coin or two. Wassailing comes from the Anglo-Saxon word that means ‘to
be hale’ and it is a way to wish good health to all those you visit, including your own family.
The roots of caroling go deeper even than this. In the days of the Pagans the Wassailers didn’t go to visit the Lords and Ladies of the mortal realm but rather to the orchards where they would wish health to the trees and the the Lords and Ladies of the Elven realm who were believed to be the guardians of the apples and other orchard trees.
Seeing how rarely and how timorously this custom now takes place makes me sad. It was so much fun to sing my face off with a group of people who were similarly as unselfconscious and joyous, knowing that everywhere we went we spread joy in the very darkest heart of winter.
Bio: Virginia Carraway Stark has a diverse portfolio and has been writing professionally for nearly a decade. Getting an early start on writing, Virginia has had a gift for communication, oration and storytelling from an early age. Over the years she has developed this into a wide range of products from screenplays to novels to articles to blogging to travel journalism. She works with other writers, artists and poets to hone her talents and to offer encouragement and insight to others. She has been screened at Cannes Film Festival for her screenplay, “Blind Eye” which was followed by The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens and two sequels after that. She was nominated for an Aurora Award for her creative writing in 2013.
Most of all, Virginia is an explorer. The world of writing and the research that goes with each new project is what keeps her excited about each new project. She approaches everything she does with enthusiasm, dedication and a love for the task at hand. This has also lead to her keen interest in the field of the paranormal. She has been a diligent student of all the mysteries this has lead to her becoming a Director at The National Paranormal Society. She and her husband also publish a paranormal journal called ‘Outermost’.
Her publications are numerous and include poetry anthologies, online poetry journals, short story anthologies as well as her novel, ‘Dalton’s Daughter’ and the collective novel, ‘The Concierge’. To be released later this year are, ‘Carnival Fun’, ‘Decay of Man, and ‘Charism’. Early next year her novels ‘Detached Daughter’ and ‘Gendler’s Landing’ as well as ‘Bit’, and ‘The Irregulars’ two novels written collectively with as many as eight other authors.
For a list of her entire body of work you can visit her at:
You can also find her memoirs at:
Latest announcements on Facebook and to contact her:
or by email:
Find out the latest news from where she is editor in chief at Starklightpress