Bringing back the Masonic holidays!

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Hello Readers,

I have survived that last blog entry about Triple Package so far but some Mormons just showed up at my front door, to silence me most likely.

So we as Free and Accepted Masons often find ourselves looking for more culture, or more of a Masonic lifestyle. One complaint I hear by new brothers is that they want more “Masonry”, as in they want to have a larger Masonic identity. Masonic education is one way to to do, but for this blog entry I want to focus on other ways of enhancing the Masonic community. One way is the facilitation of the brotherhood aspect which is a great way to create “more Masonry”. Brotherhood is also important  to cultivate the brotherly love and exchange of ideas that the Fraternity is known for.

Researching this topic, one thing I found is that great cultures have many holidays. But he holidays are not just days to celebrate, but days to relax, reflect, grow, improve and gain new perspectives. So what I will be doing is looking at the Masonic holiday landscape and then creating my own Masonic holiday calendar, in hopes that your lodge considers them for you own benefit.

Masonic Holidays by Greg Stewart

Here is the best list I could find after doing some google-sleuthing. Now what I will do is go through, make notes, put some thoughts in and I’ll also propose some additional holidays. Because more drinking/meditative discussion, that’s why!

January

Franklin-Benjamin-LOC-headJanuary 17, 1706 – Ben Franklin born.  Statesman, Diplomat, Past Grand Master, Inventor.

When I first wrote this blog entry, I crossed him off! Now, I put him back in because he represents the power of invention and what it means to Masonry. This is a good holiday to get warm, do some reading, and talk with you brothers on things that we could invent to help out the world. Part brainstorming, part drinking/smoking up. A good mind expansive holiday to get the innovative juices flowing.

January 12th, 1886 – Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 Consecrated in London.

Dump it. While it is the premier research lodge in England, it just doesn’t have the juice to have a coherent holiday designed around it)

mozartADDJanuary 27th, 1756 – Mozart’s birthday.

Mozart was the equivalent of a nuclear strike on music during his time and his work with The Magic Flute sets him in a special place in Masonry. I see this holiday filled with great music from Mozart, fine dance, relaxation, a glass of wine, and a good discussion on Music, which is one of our 7 arts. Also something to consider is his death in poverty and obscurity, yet his legend lives on. A good lesson to think about for Masonic discussion.

February

George WashingtonFebruary 22, 1732 – George Washington born, first President of the United States.

Slam dunk choice. The first man in the modern era to take control of a country and then to voluntarily give his power up. Is the first Mason to found a new nation. And it’s a nation that brings together many Masonic ideals. Also I poked around looking for other dates for February because it is such a down and cold month but nothing. Unless you count rigging the Super Bowl as a Masonic holiday. Sorry gang but even Masonry can’t make February any good.

March

Prince HallMarch 6, 1775 – Prince Hall, founding father of Prince Hall Freemasonry, was made a Master Mason in Irish Constitution Military Lodge No. 441

This is a good one. And one that should be celebrated more often. A good way to do this would be to take up some PHA cultural elements and join together with the local PHA lodge.

Albert MackeyMarch 12, 1807 – Albert Gallatin Mackey – d. June 20, 1881 – Masonic Author, notably of the Masonic Dictionary.

Mackey is a very important scholar and figure in Masonry and his viewpoints have gotten a lot of attention. However the holiday opens to door to think about his books and Masonic education in the larger sense.

March 18, 1919 – Order of DeMolay founded in Kansas City, Missouri, later to become DeMolay International.

DeMolay is fading and Masonry and youth organizations doesn’t fit the Fraternity. We’re an adult craft, a major reason for that is so all Masons can spend their lives as non-Masons first, to enlighten their experience into the craft.

Maundy Thursday – Feast Day that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.  Dates move between March 19th and April 22nd with the Easter holiday.  Celebration is held on the Thursday before Easter.

While I love celebrating ANY Christian holidays, lets leave this one to Christianity and separate it from Masonry. Masonry doesn’t support any one specific religion or the other.

April

April 6, 1922 – International Order of the Rainbow for Girls founded in McAlester, Oklahoma.

Same as DeMolay for me.

antimasonryApril 20, 1884 – Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical, Humanum Genus against Freemasonry based upon the hoax by Leo Taxil.

Absolutely and 100% we celebrate this. This is a good day for solum reflection. Spend your time thinking about what it means to be oppressed as Masons, but also what oppression means for others in the world. A good time to talk about injustices and how to stand against them.

May

May 31, 1801 – Ordo ab Chao, Founding of the The Supreme Council, Ancient and AcceptedScottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, USA

For Freemasons, this day doesn’t apply to the vast majority of us. But for Scottish Rite Masons, it’s a huge deal. They can celebrate it.

????????????????????????ADDMay 14th – Mother Theresa takes her solum vows to dedicate herself to Christianity, which calls for a life of charity and relief.

Four things. Almost all of our holidays involve Masons, men, birthdays, and none involve charity so far. This holiday accomplished all four. There are many people in the world who do great things who aren’t Masons. There are many great women who have walked this earth and have made profound marks on it. Also it isn’t birth that makes you a great person. And lastly, it’s that vow, the call the relief and charity that is the most important of all. May 14th is when Mother Theresa made her final vows to her new life of the relief of others. Make this a holiday where the lodge goes out and helps people. And then on your own time, go out and help someone you know that is in need.

patrickhenry_smADDMay 29th – Patrick Henry was born. The man that proclaimed, “give me liberty or give me death.”

This is an important holiday because Patrick Henry isn’t as well known, yet his words were an important part of the structure of the American Revolution. This is an important lesson to us Masons. Every man counts. We regularly focus on the top of the pyramid, so to speak, but we fail to realize that life SHOULDN’T be like a pyramid, but a mass that builds to something great. And every brick, and every person who builds it up, matters. So use this holiday as an excuse to have a paper that focuses on lesser known Masons but Masons who were important in their own right to whatever they were a part of. And also highlight the work of lesser appreciated brothers in the lodge.

June

saint-john-the-apostle-01June 24th 20th/21st  – Saint John the Baptist Day / Summer Solstice

The calendar I got this from was wrong, which disturbs me. Somewhere out there, are lodges who are celebrating St. John’s Day on the 21st, and boy are they in for a surprise…

This is a huge huge day for Masonry. Not only is it St. John the Baptist Day part of the Masonic structure, but it is also the first day Masonry revealed itself to the world by forming the Grand Lodge of England. So this is a great for summer day drinking, esoteric and religious discussion and history discussion.

June 24th, 1717 – Founding of the United Grand Lodge of England.

July

What!? No holiday in July. I know lodges like to shut down for July, but we California Masons shut down for nobody! So here is my Masonic holiday addition. Here are a few to consider.

Masonic Civil War SoldiersADD – July 1st – Civil war soldiers meet in peace

So as the story goes here, Freemasons on the Blues (North) and the Greys (South) fought the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and then right after met at a local lodge peacefully. This is a good holiday to find a Mason you have had difficulty with in the past and for you to get together with him and some other Masons to bond and enjoy harmony.

Simon_BolivarADD – July 24th – Birthday of Simon Bolivar, the biggest revolutionary in history

Now we’re talking. This sounds like a swash buckling, no holds barred, rocking good time. Brother Bolivar essentially overthrew all the governments in South America, and kicked ass everywhere. This holiday calls for the entire lodge to get together, get in some hard drinking, and storm the streets. Now, what you plan to “overthrow” is up to you, but this sounds like a bang-up good time.

August

August 5th, 1813 – Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite founded. August 7, 1742 – William Preston born – d. April 1, 1818.  Author of the revised Masonic Ritual.

Both holidays aren’t getting the juices flowing for me. So how about this. Instead of trying to find some holiday to put in, lets leave August alone. Consider it an off month for refreshment and repose.

September

morgan_exposureSeptember 11, 1826, the beginning of the Morgan Affair and the rise of the Anti Masonic Party.

So 9/11 is also the same date as the Morgan Affair which almost destroyed American Masonry? Consider this a day of reflection about what America means in the world, and what it means to be a Mason in America. For the good and the bad.

September 26, 1872 – founding of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

Feast of Tishiri – 15th day of the 7th month – though the date moves with the Jewish Calendar (7th Month of the Jewish calendar somewhere between September and October).

Let the Shriners have this one alone. And the Jewish people can have their holiday as well. Sure, you as a Mason can join these events but don’t make them Blue Lodge Masonic.

October

October 18, 1911 – Corner Stone laid in the Construction of the Scottish Rite SJ house of the Temple in Washington. October 20, 1920 – The Order of Job’s Daughters, founded in Omaha, Nebraska. October 30, 1771 – Thomas Smith Webb,  d. July 6, 1819 author of Freemason’s Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry, the foundational text of the York Rite American system of Freemasonry and the Founding Father of the York or American Rite.

I don’t like any of these. Except for Webb, which I am going to modify to look like such.

Thomas WebbADD – October 30, 1771 – Thomas Smith Webb,  d. July 6, 1819 author of Freemason’s Monitor, the foundational text of the American system of Freemasonry.

This is a good day to talk about the ritual. Anything about it, your ritual work, and what the ritual itself means to you. This is a good time to make a lodge NOT in your lodge building, but maybe in a house or other place. Get back to those old Masonic house (or forest!) roots.

 

November

November 6, 1876 – Order of the Eastern Star first General Grand Chapter formed in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mark TwainNovember 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain,  – d.April 21, 1910.  Author, humorist lecturer, and father of American literature.

Now this is something I can get behind. Consider it a Masonic book club day. 14 days in advance, you choose a Masonic story, everyone reads it and then they get together to talk about what it meant to them. Or maybe a brother can write a short story.

 

December

December 29, 1809 – Albert Pike, author of Morals and Dogma born,  d. April 2, 1891 (aged 81).

Sorry Scottish Rite brothers, but I can’t make this a holiday. Reason being is that there is trouble in this. Pike is a controversial figure in Masonry, especially some of his thoughts on who the “light bearer” is. To make his birth an official holiday is almost an endorsement of his interpretation and ideals as a Mason. So you can celebrate it if you like, but I don’t think making it an official lodge holiday is in the best interests of Masonry.

St John the EvangelistDecember 27th 21st/22nd – Saint John the Evangelist Day / Winter Solstice.

Not the exact Winter Solstice Day, but close enough. A great holiday to talk about the message of St. John, his symbolism, what he meant, his writings, and what he means to Masonry. I had a great time with my Brothers talking about him and his holiday combines a richness in esoteric discussion with good fraternal brotherhood.

So here is now our new updated calendar, all cleaned up, commentary removed but the holiday purpose left in.

NEW CALENDAR

January

January 17 – Ben Franklin Day.  Inventor, Statesman, Diplomat.

This is a good holiday to get warm, do some reading, and talk with you brothers about the power of invention and to discuss things that we could invent to help out the world. Part brainstorming, part drinking/smoking up. A good mind expansive holiday to get the innovative juices flowing.

January 27th – Mozart’s Day.

I see this holiday filled with great music from Mozart, fine dance, relaxation, a glass of wine, and a good discussion on Music, which is one of our 7 arts. Also his death in poverty and obscurity, yet his legend lives on, are good notes for Masonic discussion.

February

February 22, 1732 – George Washington Day, first President of the United States.

A holiday to discuss what it means to be in power but to make sure the people and God are the ones in control. Talk about how your respective nation has Masonic and un-Masonic ideals. A potentially rousing and energized holiday, with a good trip to the bar and an informal presentation.

March

March 6, 1775 – Prince Hall Day, founding father of Prince Hall Freemasonry, was made a Master Mason.

A good way to celebrate this holiday would be to take up some PHA cultural elements and join together with the local PHA lodge. Also use this holiday as an excuse to find a brother who you feel is very different from you and get together with him.

March 12 – Albert  Mackey Day, Masonic Author, notably of the Masonic Dictionary.

Have this be a Masonic education focused holiday. Talk about some educational topics and have a paper ready on the Masonic dictionary with good discussion. Brandy and cigars go well with this one.

April

April 20 – Taxil Hoax and Humanum Genus.

This is a good day for solum reflection and to think about what it means to be oppressed as Masons, but also what oppression means for others in the world. A good time to talk about injustices and how to stand against them. A quiet and thoughtful holiday filled with reflection. A good day to try and do something ritualized to understand what it is like to suffer.

May

May 14th – Mother Theresa’s Final Vows

There are many people in the world who do great things who aren’t Masons. There are many great women who have walked this earth and have made profound marks on it. Also it isn’t birth that makes you a great person. And lastly, it’s that vow, the call the relief and charity that is the most important of all. May 14th is when Mother Theresa made her final vows to her new life. Make this a holiday where the lodge goes out and helps people. And then on your own time, go out and help someone you know that is in need.

May 29th – Patrick Henry Day

This is an important holiday because Patrick Henry isn’t as well known, yet his words were an important part of the structure of the American Revolution. This is an important lesson to us Masons. Every man counts. We regularly focus on the top of the pyramid, so to speak, but we fail to realize that life SHOULDN’T be like a pyramid, but a mass that builds to something great. And every brick, and every person who builds it up, matters. So use this holiday as an excuse to have a paper that focuses on lesser known Masons but Masons who were important in their own right to whatever they were a part of. And also highlight the work of lesser appreciated brothers.

June

June 24th  – Saint John the Baptist Day / Summer Solstice

This is a huge huge day for Masonry. Not only is it St. John the Baptist Day, but it is also the first day Masonry revealed itself to the world by forming the Grand Lodge of England. So this is a great for summer day drinking, esoteric and religious discussion, history discussion, and what the Fraternity means to you.

July

July 1st – Civil Peace Day

Civil War soldiers fought each other and then on the next day they met in lodge. This is a good holiday to find a Mason you have had difficulty with in the past and for you to get together with him to get together and enjoy harmony.

July 24th – Birthday of Simon Bolivar, the biggest revolutionary in history

This is a swash buckling, no holds barred, rocking good time holiday. Brother Bolivar essentially overthrew all the governments in South America, and kicked ass everywhere. This holiday calls for the entire lodge to get together, get in some hard drinking, and storm the streets. Now, what you plan to “overthrow” is up to you.

August

Month off.

September

September 11, The beginning of the Morgan Affair and the rise of the Anti Masonic Party.

Consider this a day of reflection about what America means in the world, and what it means to be a Mason in America. For the good and the bad.

October

October 30 – Thomas Webb Day.

This is a good day to talk about the ritual, as Thomas Webb was one of the men that founded the American ritual. Have the holiday focus on the ritual, your ritual work and what the ritual itself means to you. This is a good time to make a lodge NOT in your lodge building, but maybe in a house or other place. Get back to those old Masonic house roots.

November

November 30,  Mark Twain Day

Consider it a Masonic book club day. 10 days in advance, you choose a Masonic story, everyone reads it and then they get together to talk about what it meant to them. Or maybe a brother can write a short story.

December

December 27th – Saint John the Evangelist Day / Winter Solstice.

A great holiday to talk about the message of St. John, his symbolism, what he meant, his writings, and what he means to Masonry. I had a great time with my Brothers talking about him and his holiday combines a richness in esoteric discussion with good fraternal brotherhood.

——-

Hopefully you find this useful for your lodge, and as  great way to bring brothers together, strengthen education, and to better the world around us.

2 thoughts on “Bringing back the Masonic holidays!

    • Absolutely. To be a Mason, one must believe in a higher power and must also be a man. Those are the two primary qualifications to get in. There are other minor ones (are you a felon or not) and you will also be interviewed to make sure that you’re not “nuts”.

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