The ancient folk-tradition of Wassailing was revived in Willingdon this year by the Long Man Morris. With Morris Dancing, a torch-lit procession led by Eastbourne Bonfire Society and folk singing in the Wheatsheaf, the Wassail returned to Willingdon for the first time since the last century.
Wassail is an Anglo-Saxon word: ‘waes’ meaning ‘to be’, and ‘hal’ meaning both ‘whole’ and ‘healthy’. It is described on the information sheet by the Long Man Morris as ‘a greeting wishing your friend good health and peace of mind. The reply to it was “Drink hal,” implying that the act of drinking, from your own cup or a communal bowl, symbolised the taking in of health and wholeness from the environment.’