The fifth annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9 and 10, at Rockland Congregational Church, 180 Limerock St. Performance times are 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Each of the hour-long performances is preceded by Renaissance entertainment for the arriving audience, beginning 30 minutes before the show. The audience is invited to enjoy refreshments at the gala in the Fellowship Hall after the festival.

Held at Epiphany, the festival is a re-enactment of ancient celebrations that marked the end of the 12 days of Christmas. Tradition claims Epiphany as the time when the magi offered their gifts to the Christ child. In medieval England, this religious festival was recognized by revels in the manor hall that included presenting a wild boar’s head, which came to symbolize Christ’s triumph over Satan.

Rockland Congregational’s festival is staged in the spacious sanctuary, decorated in the beginning as the Manor House. Arriving guests are greeted with music and offered sweetmeats. The Herald proclaims the entry of the boar’s head, carried in triumph by the Beefeaters, and a procession of cooks and staff brings forth the great feast.

Dancers from the Rockport Conservatory of Dance entertain the Royal Court. Then carolers wish those is attendance well; King Wenceslas and his pages remind all to help those in need; and woodsmen bring in the yule log, which represents the rekindling of love. The lights dim and the hall transforms into a cathedral for the worship of the newborn as the Holy Family arrives, followed by shepherds, magi and animals. When all have assembled, they kneel in adoration. The ceremony closes as a small child in the role of the yule sprite, accompanied by a cleric of the church, carries forth Christ’s light to all people.

Throughout the performance, music by the Midcoast Brass Quintet; the Chancel Choir and handbell ringers of Rockland Congregational Church; and vocal and instrumental soloists, with singing by the congregation, is enhanced by Richard Einsel at the organ. With a large costumed cast drawn from the Midcoast community, dancers, live animals, choirs and musicians, the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival at Rockland Congregational Church is a glorious way to close the holiday season. All proceeds after expenses will benefit the assistance programs of Area Interfaith Outreach.

General admission seats are $10; reserved numbered seats on both sides of the center aisle are $15. To purchase tickets, call the office of Rockland Congregational Church at 594-8656.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at dernest@villagesoup.com.