Around the world in pictures

A cold wave sweeps northern India, a storm brews in Belgium and Christmas comes to Bulgaria in January even as the Magi step off a helicopter in Spain. Take a trip around the world with these fascinating photos.

A photo taken with a long time exposure shows Hook Eagle Morris Men making their way to the local orchard, part …

A long-exposure photo shows Hook Eagle Morris Men making their way to the local orchard, part of the annual Wassail ceremony in Hartley Wintney, 40 miles west of London, on January 6. Wassailing is an ancient southern English tradition performed to ensure a good crop of cider apples for the next year's harvest event. Held close to twelfth night, it celebrates both the passing of Christmas and the future good health of the orchard trees. Traditionally, the custom involved local farm workers visiting the orchard after dark with shotguns, horns, food and a large pail of cider. They would make a loud noise to raise the Sleeping Tree Spirit and to scare off demons. Cider would be poured over the roots and pieces of toast placed in the branches as a gift to the spirit of the tree. The Wassail song is sung as a blessing or charm to bring fruitfulness or even in admonishment not to fail in the upcoming year. Morris dancing is an English tradition and the Hook Eagle Morris Men are known for painted faces, sunglasses and recognizable costume. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS


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