Religions and Spirituality

Somerville Congregation Celebrates Twelfth Night Boar's Head Festival Jan. 8 with Pomp and Pageantry

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SOMERVILLE, NJ – United Reformed Church, “The Church on Main Street” will once again host the Central Jersey Twelfth Night-Boar’s Head Festival on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 4 p.m

All are welcome to come and revel in the celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas, as was done in Elizabethan times.

The church sanctuary will be transformed into an English manor with candlelight, banners, trees, and crests. The Lord and Layde of the manor will welcome guests to share in this festive celebration and the story of the Nativity.

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Through pageantry and song, a cast of 125 characters in in Elizabethan and Biblical costumes will present vocal and instrumental music including handbells, bag pipes, drums, organ, brass quintet, and harpists. 

Cast members include members of United Reformed Church, Bernardsville United Methodist Church, Peapack Reformed Church, Westminster Choir College, Rutgers University, the Brass Quintet of Madison, Somerset County Police Pipes and Drums, and local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. 

 In medieval times, the boar was a symbol of evil, the “king” of the great forests, and a ferocious menacing animal to man. The presentation of the boar’s head at Christmas symbolized good over evil. The church endowed this custom with symbolic meaning, transforming it to the worship of God, and the triumph of Christ over evil.

The ceremony of the boar’s head became a part of Christmas celebrations in the great manors throughout the middle ages. It has become a popular Christmas tradition in Somerville.

The 2017 Twelfth Night Boar’s Head Festival is directed by United’s music director, F. Paul Dickey and Larry J. Carey, music director at Peapack Reformed Church.

There is no charge for admission but a freewill offering will be appreciated. 

To keep up with updates about the festival throughout the year, follow the Facebook page;  facebook/urctwelfthnight.

United Reform Church is located at 100 W. Main St.

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