Old North Church Lantern Ceremony

One if by land, two if by sea.  

How many of us have read or heard those words dozens of times from childhood?  They are woven into our American History and have become threads in the fabric of our nations story. Today I want to share with you about the Old North Church Lantern Ceremony that celebrates this very phrase, because I was lucky enough to attend the ceremony and experience first hand as a guest of the Old North Church Foundation- and I was able to see what an amazing experience it is to be part of the ceremony.

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April 18, 1775 was the date when the two lanterns were hung from the steeple of the Old North Church (which, FYI, is 150 feet up, and there are “stairs” and “ladders” to get you up there.  I know this because I climbed it.  In flip flops.  I don’t know how someone did that with fire in hand so many years ago, but I admire their tenacity and courage. I was shaking like a leaf!!). This would be the “launch” of the American Revolutionary War, and for 240 years now, those who love to celebrate our history and keep it alive have re-enacted that lantern lighting at Old North Church in the evening on April 18th.

 

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Prior to the ceremony, there is a performance by a Fife & Drum Corps on the Prada on Hanover Street.  It’s pretty awesome to see and hear so many dressed in period attire (and unfortunately, I  don’t have photos of this part) in such an historic location.

 

Fun fact: Paul Revere actually rode a mare. This statue is incorrect. #chocolatehistory #Boston #patriotsday

A photo posted by Brett Martin (@brettbmartin) on

The statue of Paul Revere on his horse stands, at the entrance to the Prada, and quite honestly, when you walk past it, it’s hard to not take a deep breath- because when you stop to think about the enormity of the events that happened on that same ground. As you walk toward the church, there’s an excitement in the air, and a sense of awe.

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Hundreds gather in the sanctuary of the Old North Church on Patriots Weekend each year for the historic Lantern Ceremony.  It’s not a worship service, per se, but there is an order of events and readings from various local personalities and, of course, the reading of Longfellow’s ever-famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

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At the conclusion of the ceremony, lanterns are given to those who have made an impact on the community at large. This year, honors went to a team of Partners in Health workers who traveled to West Africa to offer aid and medical expertise to communities with individuals affected by the Ebola virus.   Boston Marathon Bombing survivors and first responders were honored in 2013.

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Once the readings are finished and as the lanterns shared with those being honored, everyone in the church sanctuary begins to sing My Country, Tis of Thee.  I had chills singing this.  The song always evokes emotions in me, but standing in Old North Church, at the 240th Lantern Ceremony, brought those emotions to a whole new level.

pew-old-north-church-revereI was 2 pew boxes from the Revere family pew box, singing our nation’s great song with hundreds of others, to celebrate and reenact a huge event in our nation’s history. Amazing.  Powerful. The Mayor of Boston was in attendance, as was the Governor…. along with so many history buffs, reenactors, Boston residents, tourists and so many others.

 

 

 

I can’t say enough that if you are ever in Boston for Patriots Weekend, or are considering it, GO! to Old North Church.  It’s an awesome experience in every sense of the word, and steeped with rich history that is so important for all of us to embrace, celebrate and share with one another.

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Thank you again to Old North Church Foundation and American Heritage Chocolate for inviting me up to Boston for Patriots Weekend.  I can’t wait to go back and bring my family with me!

About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

18 comments… add one
  • I love seeing reenactments or places that have historical meaning. This would be nice to see.
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  • I am such a sucker when it comes to historical landmarks and such. I would absolutely love to see this in person.
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  • Ok, this is so cool and I wish I had been there to experience it. My kids would have gotten a kick out of it as well.
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  • I've never been to Boston, but I loved the history in Philadelphia when I was there for work a long time back. I love history and the whole East Coast is as much as you can get in the States!
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  • As a kid, I was never a fan of history. Yet as an adult, I've gravitated toward it and enjoy learning more and seeing sites/things first-hand. Experiences like this ceremony help bring history to life and make it more enjoyable to learn about. I hope my kids appreciate it more than I ever did at their age.
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  • i have never had the pleasure of visiting this particular area of Boston. I think I would love the Fife sad Drum because I enjoy it when I visit Williamsburg, VA.
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  • What an awesome experience. I'd love to see it.
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  • I love historic sights! I bet this one is really cool.
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  • This looks like a fun thing to attend. I love historic things such as this.
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  • This looks like so much fun! I would love to do something like this in my community!
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  • What an awesome ceremony! I really enjoy seeing your pictures. These are great!
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  • That's so cool! I've never attended a reenactment like that! I wish I could have seen that when I lived closer.
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  • That looks like a wonderful place to visit. I'm sure my husband would love to go to a place like this. If I'm ever in the area I'll have to check it out for sure.
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  • Oh wow, this looks like a fantastic adventure! What cool American History!
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  • I am a serious history nerd. I would have been in HEAVEN!
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  • It really was an amazing ceremony. I would definitely recommend going again!
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  • This is great! My husband is such a history buff, and I need to take him and my daughter here.
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  • We all go there to see this when we are in school. It's cool to see, but I haven't seen it since I was in 5th grade.
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