Rockland church celebrates annual Boar's Head festival

By George Chappell | Jan 06, 2013
Photo by: George Chappell A herald leads a procession carrying the head of a wild boar, considered a symbol of evil in medieval times. The members of the Rockland Congregational Church celebrate the annual Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival Jan. 5 and 6 at the church to mark the end of the 12 days of Christmas and the beginning of the church year.

Rockland — A festival tradition that goes back 2,000 years to the days of the Roman Empire was celebrated Saturday, Jan. 5, and Sunday, Jan. 6, at the Rockland Congregational Church.

Members of the church performed the 7th annual Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival. The festival is a re-enactment of ancient celebrations which marked the end of the 12 days of Christmas and were held on the Feast of Epiphany, when tradition claims that the Magi offered their gifts to the Christ child, according to the Congregational church website.

In Norman, England, the boar was considered the sovereign of the forests, and was a menace to all and a symbol of evil, according to the local church bulletin.

By the 12th century, the serving of the boar's head at Christmas had become a triumph of good over evil, and was associated with Epiphany, a celebration in the Christian church calendar.

The tradition was carried down for many centuries and survived in Connecticut in the American colonies in the 17th century.

At Rockland Congregational Church, a cast of members dressed in 15th century authentic attire creates an atmosphere for a great banquet. Members of the congregation sing hymns and carols to honor the Christ child in a lowly manger setting. Farm animals are brought to church to give the scene authenticity.

Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or at


Comments (2)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jan 08, 2013 07:16

What an example the Rockland Congregational Church is to the rest of us! We can see all the time where they reach out way beyond their four walls in outreach to our community. There are many congregations doing this locally and in a day we hear so much negativity about Christianity it is refreshing!!  THANX  :)

Posted by: Robert Baines | Jan 07, 2013 22:30

As the Director of this production, I need to add that the Boar's Head Festival may be produced by the Rockland Congregational Church, but  many of the participants come from the Rockland community at large. This year's participants came from Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head, South Thomaston, Union, Camden, Waldoboro, Newcastle,  Appleton, etc. (One even flew from California so she could participate). And the audience came from all of those towns, plus. We also have audience members who come from New Hampshire and Illinois, just to see the production.

This was our seventh year and we are very proud of the support we receive for putting on such an event. Proceeds after expenses have been donated to a local charity. So, we give in three ways...The gift of entertainment, spiritual gifts, and charitable gifts. And I believe the actors are just as uplifted as the audience!


Sue Baines

If you wish to comment, please login.