Spring! A time of new life, fullness, and joy! And what better way to celebrate than with a wedding! So, you are cordially invited to The Wedding of the Trees, or the Spozalizio degli Alberi! A full medieval festival in every way, complete with costumes, bands, and flags.
Participants: two large oak trees
Date: May 8, annually
Place: the town of Vetralla, in northern Lazio
Occasion: to celebrate spring’s fertility and promote the protection and care of local forests
Purpose: to revive Vetralla’s sovereignty over the forests, and confirm the ongoing tradition that ensures every resident a cubic meter of firewood annually
A Medieval tradition
This symbolic wedding dates back to medieval days. It begins by climbing Monte Fogliano to decorate the chosen oaks with veils and garlands. Followed by the official reading and signing of a notary’s document. The ceremony ends with a horse guard parade. Riders gallop around the trees and throw spring bouquets at the married couple. The Broom Plant is a common choice, which brings us to an intriguing tradition.
This festival has its roots in ancient fertility rites. So the Broom Plant could be a way of wishing the couple a house full of kids to clean up after. Who knows? In any case, marrying trees seems crazy to me.
Using the broom plant as a sweeping tool also dates back to the 15th century. But the custom of gifting them at weddings seems odd. A useful tool for newlyweds, yes. But according to an old Sussex rhyme, the bride could use it to sweep her husband away.
Sweep the house with blossed broom in May And sweep the head of the household away!
The idea of wishing the couple a clean house is great! But not to the point of sweeping the husband away!
But one of the festival’s main purposes is to promote forest conservation, and I’m all for that! Which reminds me of another Tree. Though he of course, doesn’t consider himself a tree.
“Tree? I am no tree! I am an Ent. Some call me Treebeard.”JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
A treeherder, a Shepherd or guardian of the Forest. But somehow, I imagine Treebeard would like this festival. Someone should invite him…or could it be that he’s already here?
The Nuptial dinner
But hey, don’t leave yet, the festival’s not over. Like any proper wedding, it’s time for the nuptial dinner. A free picnic for all! You didn’t think they’d have a wedding without food, did you? Especially an Italian wedding, known for an abundance of food and wine!
So let’s have a toast for the wedding of the trees! Not that I’m in favor of fertility rites which seem like a bunch of nonsense. But protecting trees? Of course! And enough firewood for all? Yes please!
Although Italy could use more fertility. It’s a dying country. Fewer and fewer babies are born each year. So I’d say a few weddings are in order!
But I’ll leave you to enjoy the festivities by watching the following video! I’m off to look for Treebeard. He must be around here somewhere…Treebeard wouldn’t miss the Wedding of the Trees! And how about you?
Images: Wedding rings by Bairyna | Invitation made on Canva | Broom tree ©SignoraSheila.
2 replies on “Wedding of the Trees [Video]”
Did the Italians coin the phrase, “Any excuse for a party?” I think you enjoy more festivals than any other country–at least most countries! The trees must be beautiful when decorated.
I’m not sure about that Nancy. But you’re right – Italians do love a good festa!! And yes, I’m sure the trees must be beautiful!!
LikeLiked by 1 person