For 40 years, artist Jay Critchley has been letting go of the bad things of the past year and inviting others to do the same.
The 40th annual Re-Rooters Day Ceremony will be held as usual on January 7th at 4pm on the beach east of Snail Road, at the east end of Provincetown. (From State Highway 6, take the first exit in Provincetown and turn left at the water’s edge.) Ceremonies are open to the public.
Unlike most years, Critchley sets fire to not one but four abandoned Christmas trees and pushes them out to sea in a slightly larger makeshift boat.
“We usually have one tree that we find abandoned in a landfill. There will be four events this year, one every decade,” said Critchley. In a phone interview last week, he said:
“The first ceremony was in 1983. I chose January 7 because it was the day after the 12-day stockpile for the holiday,” he said. “This annual event looks at the effects of overconsumption and materialism that the holidays symbolize.”
But it’s also about burning things clean.
Critchley is not only the host of the International Re-Rooters Society event, but also the castoff keeper. Most people email documents and photos they want to burn, but that’s weird.
“People put gallstones on trees. People left pornographic magazines … (messages) corruption, fraud, war, smoking, renunciation of addiction. A lot of it is personal,” Critchley said. says. “Someone threw out all the phone numbers he got from people who didn’t call him one year.”
Critchley chose a theme for his annual ceremony, using five areas—tech/science, politics, culture, the environment, and money—to create a list of ten commandments that grew from that central note, and then refined the details. increase.
2022’s core was “unexpected shipments,” and his list of commandments was still growing, including references to micro-celebrities, pasture-eating politicians, entanglements, and eternal fools. .Year.
Several years of commandments and photos are available at www.jaycritchley.com.
According to Critchley, the event is “snow or shine.” So one year five of his closest friends got together in a blizzard, another year he had 40 people on a 50 degree sunny afternoon. All are then invited to the nearby Critchley house for tea and conversation.
The first Re-Rooters Day Ceremony was held on Commercial Street near Ciro & Sal’s restaurant, and another early ceremony was held in a Cambridge apartment. Critchley, however, said he was dedicated to port locations.
“For one thing, being in Provincetown at the end of the earth, it’s a good place to experience primitive rituals. It’s very physical: people breathing, singing, fire.”
When Critchley came up with the idea for the International Rerouters Association (“There are more than one IRS,” he points out) in 1982, he had just been to the town dump and found a pile of broken toys, half-eaten holidays. I was watching food, food mixed up. An abandoned Christmas tree. His attempts to replant trees in the forest after the holidays were unsuccessful, but hope still blooms when evergreens aren’t.
“Rerooting the Christmas tree is all about desire and tension. Some trees are rerooted. It’s a ritual. It’s a purge.”
40th Annual Re-Rooters Day Ceremony
- when: January 7, 4:00 p.m.
- where: Provincetown Harbor on the east beach of Snail Road
- note: You can’t miss organizer/artist/founder Jay Critchley. He wears a helmet with rotating lights and an eagle on top.