St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Wilton, Maine recently hosted the sixth annual Boar’s Head Feast in honor of the Epiphany of our Lord and for the benefit of the Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Assistance Fund on January 7th, 2011. The feast of roast pork with all the trimmings (including plum pudding) was presented by costumed servers while medieval music was provided by the Sytsma family utilizing authentic period instruments. Actor Michael Cooper and wife Susan entertained and the evening was capped off with an appearance by the Three Kings. The fundraiser made over $1,300 for the fund.
The history of the Boar’s Head Feast goes back to 1340 when legend had it that a scholar was studying a book of Aristotle while walking through the forest on his way to midnight mass. He was suddenly confronted by an angry wild boar, a public menace. Having no other weapon, the resourceful scholar rammed his book down the throat of the charging boar, thus choking the beast to death. The celebration of the Boar’s Head became a symbol of the triumph of the Christ child over sin, light over darkness and eventually included themes from the nativity, Epiphany and Twelfth Night celebrations.
St. Luke’s has enjoyed putting on the annual event, which requires participation by “practically everybody” in the parish, said Corey Walmer, house “manager” for the evening. “A crew removes the pews from the church, another sets the tables, others cook, serve, entertain and clean up.” “Besides being an effective fundraiser,” Walmer noted, “it has also become a wonderful opportunity for all of us to gather after the holidays and extend the season a bit longer; we have fun together and look forward to it all year long.” Plans are already in place for next year’s feast to be held on Friday, January 6, 2012.