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Watch the ancient English winter celebration that we can’t name because Facebook would probably ban it!

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The Ashen F*ggot (sometimes called Ashton fagot) is an ancient English winter tradition from in Devonshire and Somerset, similar to that of the Yule log and related to the wassail tradition.

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The wassail party passes around a bundle of ash sticks, twigs or branches—the ashen faggot—bound with green ash withies, which is then placed onto the fire. As each binding bursts, the watchers toast it with a drink. Some traditions had the unmarried women each choosing a withy, and the first one whose tie snapped would be married the next year.

When the bindings have all burst and the bundle has fallen loose, each person who plans to host the festivities next year takes one of the half-burned ash sticks and saves it until the following Christmas, when it will go in the center of their own ashen faggot.

The tradition endures (or has been resurrected) in many places including in country pubs notably the Lutrell Arms in Dunster, Somerset  and the Harbour Inn at Axmouth in Devon. In both these cases, the burning takes place on Christmas Eve -in some other locations it takes place on January 5th or 17th which are Old Christmas Eve and Old Twelfth Night respectively, if you adhere to the pre-Gregorian calendar. Wessex Morris Men lead the singing and dancing which accompany the burning of the faggot on the  3rd Thursday night of the New Year.

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