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Wassailing Apple Trees

Wassailing Apple Trees


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Wassailing Apple Trees

In Devon and Somerset, apple growers wassail orchards on 17 January, with songs and a bucket of hot cider; a tree is lightly sprinkled, then the wassailers drink the rest

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Media ID 606713

© Mary Evans Picture Library 2015 - https://copyrighthub.org/s0/hub1/creation/maryevans/MaryEvansPictureID/10056807

Apple Bucket Cider Growers Lightly Orchards Rest Somerset Songs Twelfth Wassailing January Sprinkled


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> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Devon > Related Images

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Somerset > Related Images

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EDITORS COMMENTS
Wassailing the Apple Trees: A Time-Honored Tradition in Devon and Somerset, England, 17 January 1913 This evocative photograph captures the essence of an ancient custom as it unfolds in an orchard in Devon or Somerset, England, on the night of 17 January 1913. Wassailing, a time-honored tradition in apple-growing communities, is believed to date back to the 16th or 17th century. The purpose of this ritual was to ensure a bountiful apple harvest in the coming year. The image shows a group of wassailers gathered around an apple tree, their faces illuminated by the flickering light of lanterns and the glow of a roaring bonfire. One wassailer holds a bucket of steaming hot cider, which he uses to lightly sprinkle the tree's trunk and branches. The tree's foliage is adorned with paper, ribbons, and other decorations. The wassailers sing traditional songs, invoking the spirits of the trees and asking for their blessing on the orchard. After the tree has been lightly sprinkled, the wassailers drink the remaining cider, toasting to a prosperous harvest. This communal act of celebration strengthens the bonds between the growers and their land, as well as their community. The origins of wassailing are shrouded in myth and legend. Some believe that the custom derives from the ancient pagan practice of honoring the goddess of fertility, while others attribute it to the medieval tradition of wassailing, or caroling, where groups of people went from house to house, singing and asking for food and drink in exchange for a song. Regardless of its origins, wassailing remains a cherished tradition in Devon and Somerset, connecting the present to the past and ensuring that the spirit of the orchard lives on.

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