The Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival Previewed

12/23/1967 |


The Courant published an article on the planned Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival, which was to be held at Asylum Hill Congregational Church on January 7, 1968.

The event would take place as follows:

  • A tiny sprite will bear a lighted candle into the darkened church, presenting the candle to the minister.
  • The Boar’s Head Company will enter, announced by trumpet fanfare.
  • Next to enter, in order: the Waits, King Wenceslas and his page, the woodsmen with the Yule Log, the shepherds searching for Christ, and The Three Kings bearing their gifts.
  • The cast and the congregation will sing “In Deep Midwinter.”
  • During the Eucharistic hymn, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” everyone will kneel, the church will be darkened, and the Epiphany star will shine over the communion table.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church records the first Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival as having taken place in 1967, but so far, this article is the earliest reference to the festival that I’ve found.

The church re-dedicated its building during its centennial celebration on March 23, 1965.

The Courant would report on recitals for next year’s festival on December 28, 1968.

For the record

“The Boar was the first dish served at Roman feats; and in Norman England, the boar was the sovereign of the forests, a symbol of evil.  The serving of the Boar’s Head is thus meant to represent the triumph of Christ over Satan, begun with his birth at Christmas and manifested at Epiphany, his showing for to the Gentiles.  By the 12th century the serving of the Boar’s Head at Christmastide had become a symbolic representation of the triumph of the Lord over the forces of evil.  The Yule Log, a fresh log lighted by last year’s embers and representing both the warmth of the family fireside and the continuance of human life and concern, has from earliest times symbolized the rekindling of love.”

McLaughlin, Suzanne, “Hartford church ready for 50th ‘Boar’s Head’ Festival,” Manchester Journal Inquirer, January 5, 2017 (accessed online 8/31/2020).

Unattributed, “Boar's Head, Yule Log, Hymns to Accent Ancient Festival,” Hartford Courant, December 23, 1967, page 15.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church


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