Yule Tune: Here We Come A-wassailing (Orla, David, Meav, & Mark)


At a recent Christmas dinner — an annual tradition for Joe and me to get together with friends Cathey and Robert and Judy and Michael — there was a brief discussion about the Christmas carols that never get airplay on those Christmas 24/7 radio stations.

There are, in fact, lots of carols that never see the light of day, much less a turntable.  Among them is “Here We Come A-wassailing.”   Perhaps the carol fell out of popularity because, sadly, people really don’t go a-wassailing — or a-caroling — anymore.

A few centuries ago, in England, locals would go door-to-door singing Christmas carols, hoping for some food, a penny, or a drink from the homeowner’s wassail bowl, which usually held a brew of hot ale, apples, mead, and spices — just enough alcohol to warm up the wassailers.

During my own childhood, I have memories of neighborhood teenagers knocking on the front door and singing Christmas carols — and my parents would give them some money and Christmas cookies.  Today, though, caroling seems to be relegated to indoor locations and radio stations. Door-to-door caroling is a thing of Christmas past — perhaps because of lack of time, lack of energy, or an abundance of fear.

And that’s really a shame — because “Here We Come A-wassailing” is catchy and bouncy and rousing.  It’s a carol that’s built for radio play.  Don’t believe me?  Click play and listen to Orla and Meav of Celtic Woman, “American Idol” alumna David Archuleta, country singer Mark Wills, some fiddles, and the bodhran, or Irish drum.

8 thoughts on “Yule Tune: Here We Come A-wassailing (Orla, David, Meav, & Mark)

  1. Kevin, enjoying the carol posts so much! I have Sirius radio in my car and I’ve been enjoying the holiday music since day 1 of airplay. This year I’ve been very into the Beach Boys, Carpenters, and the Osmond family. Ok, I just realized how cooky those three seem as a group. Oh well, IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!

    • Hi Mario. Happy to hear that you’re enjoying the music. I’m okay with the Beach Boys and I love the Carpenters — I may have to draw a line with the Osmonds, though. 🙂 But like you said, it’s the holidays. Have a Merry Christmas and the Best New Year!

  2. This is a great video! I know this song well from several favorite recordings, but you’re right, and I’d not thought of it before, it isn’t given any airplay. I don’t ever remember having any carolers come to our house. I really only know of the tradition through books or movies. I feel a little left out! It really is a lovely Christmasy thing to do!

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