In Vetralla, Viterbo, Italy, each May 8th for at least the last 700 years the mayor weds two giant oak trees in a ceremony known as , Lo Sposalizio dell'Albero, a symbolic wedding which shows the dependence of the community on the forests. The "female" tree is decorated with white veils and flowers, the "male" tree is decorated with yellow broom blossoms: There is dancing, music, flag-throwers, refreshments and the official documents which the mayor and representatives must sign..
The ceremony is a sign of the town's sovereignity over the forests...it is also connected with remote Longobard religious festivals dedicated to Archangel Michael....
The citizens of Vetralla still collect their metre of wood ..for they have
the right to 1 metre of wood for home use each year...a fascinating throwback to the medieval rights .....
Mary Jane Cryan
Return to Main Page
Please e-mail your tree facts to Tree Talk: June Julian