The traditions of the Boar’s Head Feast and the Yule Log both date back many centuries, and celebrations of both can be found around the world. However, in the United States, no place celebrates the Boar’s Head and the Yule Log like the congregation of Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, Ohio. Inaugurated in 1940, it is not only one of the longest running Boar’s Head feasts in the New World, it is one of the most authentic. It is in almost every respect a true step back into the Christmas as celebrated in England in the late Middle Ages.
Boar’s Head Festivals can be traced back to England in 1340, while Yule Logs go back to antiquity. In 1940, Reverend Nelson Burroughs, rector of the Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, organized a Boar’s Head feast to celebrate that tradition’s 600th birthday. It was a huge success with the congregation, who decided to make it an annual event. It has since become a major local celebration of the holiday season in Ohio.
Since the beginning of the festival in the 1940s, authenticity has been an absolute must. Everything from the costumes and decorations to the food and the music must evoke 14th century England, at least as far as possible. There are over a hundred and fifty performers in full renaissance regalia; live entertainment featuring medieval music; homemade dishes made from century-old recipes; and a boar’s head (actually a hog’s head) fully prepared in grand Middle Ages style. All of it is set in the soaring, magnificent halls of the Christ Church Cathedral.
The Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival is usually given several performance in the weeks between Christmas and Epiphany. Tickets are given out on a first-come, first-served basis and are extremely difficult to come by. More specific information was not available as of the time of this writing. Web: www.boarsheadfestival.com (official website).