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In pictures: Here we come a-wassailing

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image copyrightMatt 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.

image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images
image copyrightMatt 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.

image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images
image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images
image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images
image copyrightMatt 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.

image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images
image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images

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

image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images
image copyrightMatt Cardy / Getty Images

All photographs by Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Related Topics

  • Dance
  • Tenbury Wells