Religions and Spirituality

Elizabethan Boar's Head Festival Celebrates Twelve Days of Christmas at Somerville Church

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The presentation of the boar's head symbolizes good over evil. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
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More than 140 performers will present the Twelfth Night Boar's Head Festival. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
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The exterior of the church and the sanctuary will be transformed to mimic an Edwardian-era manor. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
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The Somerset County Police Pipes and Drums will perform during the Boar's Head Festival. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
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A re-creation of the Nativity is a highlight of the performance. Credits: Courtesy United Reformed Church
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SOMERVILLE, NJ – A cast of 140 will celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas at United Reformed Church, just as it was done during Elizabethan times.
“The Church on Main Street” will once again host the Central Jersey Twelfth Night-Boar’s Head Festival on Sunday, Jan. 10th at 4 p.m.
All are welcome to come and revel in the celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas; admission to the church sanctuary is free; There will be a free will offering.
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 Christmas tradition at the Somerville church, located at 100 West Main St. 
The 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. 
The story of Christmas will be performed through pageantry and song by a cast dressed in Elizabethan and Biblical costumes, with vocal and and instrumental music including hand bells, bagpipes, drums, organ, brass quintet, flute, and recorder consort of the season.

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

The 2015 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.
Further information is available on the festival Facebook page, facebook/urctwelfthnight
 

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