A stubble goose. [Obs. or Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster]
An annual feast of the persons employed in a printing office. [Written also way-goose.] [Eng.] [1913 Webster]
EtymologyOld English - a fat goose suitable for stuffing
Wayzgoose was at one time the name for an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew's Day (24 August). This marked the traditional end of summer and the point at which the season of working by candlelight began. Later, the word came to refer to the annual outing and dinner of the staff of a printing works or the printers on a newspaper.
The derivation of the term is doubtful. It may be a misspelling for "wasegoose," from wase, Middle English for "sheaf," thus meaning "sheaf" or "harvest goose," the bird that was fit to eat at harvest-time, viz. the "stubble-goose" mentioned by Chaucer in The Cook's Prologue.
It is more probable that the merry-making which became particularly associated with the printers' trade was once general, and an imitation of the grand goose-feast annually held at Waes, in Brabant, at Martinmas. The relations of England and Holland were formerly very close, and it is not difficult to believe that any outing or yearly banquet might have grown to be called colloquially a "Waes-Goose." It is harder to explain why the term should have survived later in the printing trade, though the English printers owed much to their Dutch fellow-workers. Certainly the goose has long ago parted company with the printers' wayzgoose, which was usually held in July, though it had no fixed season. An unlikely suggestion is that the original wayzgoose was a feast given by an apprentice to his comrades at which the bird formed the staple food.
A keepsake was often printed to commemorate the occasion. It could be printed ahead of time, or the printing could form part of the evening's activities.
In 1928 poet Roy Campbell wrote a satirical poem entitled The Wayzgoose.
Wharfedale Wayzgoose is also the name of a Border Morris side from Otley, West Yorkshire, a town renowned for the development of the wharfedale printing press.
The University of California, Irvine hosts a medieval fair called Wayzgoose every April in conjunction with an open house event known as Celebrate UCI.
Minnesota Center for Book Arts, a contemporary art center preserving traditional printing and bookmaking crafts, celebrates an annual Wayzgoose in appreciation of its donors and members.