Lee Birthday

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Lee (Ann) Birthday

February 29
Ann Lee (1736-1784) was a leader in the religious movement known as the Shakers. She left England in 1774 to establish Shaker communities throughout New England and New York state, as well as in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. "Mother Ann," as she was known to her followers, believed that sexual desire was the original sin and people must be celibate in order to be closer to God. Shaker communities were known for their inventions (which include the flat broom and the clothespin), their architecture, and their furniture design as well as their commitment to celibacy, communal ownership of property, prayer, and separation from the world. They were pioneers in scientific stock breeding, crop rotation, and food preservation. The only active Shaker community that remains today is at Sabbathday Lake in Poland Spring, Maine.
Since there are less than a dozen Shakers alive, Ann Lee's birthday is no longer celebrated on a large scale, but there are numerous events commemorating the history of the Shaker movement that take place at several sites and museums devoted to Shakerism.
CONTACTS:
United Society of Shakers
707 Shaker Rd.
New Gloucester, ME 04260
207-926-4597; fax: 207-926-3559
www.maineshakers.com
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 171
AnnivHol-2000, p. 34
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 674
EncyRel-1987, vol. 8, p. 491