In Pictures

In pictures: Here we come a-wassailing

Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Members of the Leominster Morris have celebrated the ancient custom of wassailing, said to prepare orchards for the new year, blessing trees with a good crop and frightening away evil spirits.

Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Morris dancers and mummers led a procession to an orchard near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, to perform the ceremony, which involves placing a cider-soaked piece of Christmas cake on the branches of an apple tree and sprinkling cider around its roots, dancing and singing the Wassail Song.

Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images

The term Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase "waes hael", and, originally, the wassail was a drink made with mulled ale and passed round in the communal wassail cup.

Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Traditionally, wassailing was on Old Twelfth Night, 17 January, but nowadays it is often earlier in line with the Gregorian calendar.

Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Members of the Leominster Morris Image copyright Matt Cardy / Getty Images

All photographs by Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Related Topics