Saturday, December 01, 2007

Boar's Head Festival at Concordia University, Ann Arbor

It's been awhile since I've actually posted something of substance on my blog, so I decided to just begin where I am. Right now, I am with my family in Ann Arbor, MI. Scott and I attended college here at Concordia Univ., graduating in 1991.

One of the things I've really wanted to do since graduating is return here to see the Boar's Head Festival. (Read my husband's post about it here.) Boar's Head, as it is (oddly) affectionately known, refers to a very old custom which can be traced back to Roman times. The boar, considered to be the most dangerous animal in the forest, was hunted down and killed in order to show the triumph of good over evil. In the first half of the festival, the boar's head is presented along with lords, ladies, a jester, wassailing men, and of course, good King Wenceslas.

In Concordia University's presentation of the Boar's Head Festival presents in the first half the "Courtly Story," of the yule sprite entering the darkened church, representing the light of Christ coming into a darkened world. Then there is singing, dancing, all sorts of merry-making, the presentation of the Boar's Head, the gathering around the yule log, and so much more.

The second half of the festival is the Christmas story. Mary and Joseph enter the church, the Christ child is presented to the congregation in a dance--a bouree, the singing gradually crescendos into "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" until all gather around the Christ Child to celebrate His victory--God come to us in the infant Christ.

It has been many years since I've seen the Boar's Head. Scott and I once went to a festival at Plymouth Congregational Church in Fort Wayne, but nothing (of course) matches the experience of Concordia's Boar's Head.

My memory for names is not good, but after many years, I could still have sung every part of the Boar's Head with no preparation at all. There have been a few minor alterations which have only improved the production, in my opinion.

Last summer I was elected to be on the board of regents for Concordia Univ. The past two days, I have been in meetings all day to discuss issues that affect the continuing success of the university. The Boar's Head is an example of everything that is good about Concordia, and I was privileged to see the festival once again.

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