I'm pretty behind on posting these images as the Wassail actually takes place at the start of January, but I wanted to share something non-wedding related! It feels great to take your camera out for personal reasons when you shoot so much for business, and I can find it really inspiring and challenging. I've never attended the Wassail before, but I've heard a lot about it, and was very curious/excited to about the evening. This was near Hereford.
Shooting wise, the light was quite challenging, the only source was the lit torches and then the bonfires, but I love the atmosphere this created.
Wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees on Twelfth Nigh in the hopes that they might better thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.
The ceremonies of each wassail vary from village to village but they generally all have the same core elements. A wassail King and Queen lead the song and/or a processional tune to be played from one orchard to the next; the wassail Queen is then lifted into the boughs of the tree where she places toast soaked in wassail from the clayen cup as a gift to the tree spirits (and to show the fruits created the previous year). In some counties the youngest boy or "Tom Tit" will stand in for the Queen and hang the cider soaked toast in the tree. Then an incantation is usually recited.