Old Saybrook Torchlight Parade and Muster

Old Saybrook Torchlight Parade and Muster

Second Saturday night in December
In 1970 the Colonial Saybrook Fifes and Drums, under the leadership of Bill Reid, revived the tradition of a Christmas torchlight parade. In early December each year, in colonial America, the village militia would muster with their fifes and drums and march to the town green carrying torches and lanterns. When they heard the fifes and drums pass, the townspeople would follow behind the militia, also carrying torches and lanterns, to the green where a community meeting and carol sing would take place. It is thought that the event originally commemorated Advent.
Old Saybrook, Connecticut (population 10,000), is located at the mouth of the Connecticut River on Long Island Sound and was settled in 1635. It is the only community in the United States that is known to have revived this tradition.
The modern-day procession follows the traditional ritual with no less than 58 fife and drum corps from as far away as Virginia, New Jersey, and New York made up of 35 people per unit on average, plus support groups. The corps are sometimes led by Santa Claus himself and the marchers often augment their colonial-style costumes with seasonal decorations. For example, Christmas lights sparkle on tricornered hats, and silver tinsel hangs from flintlock rifles. The fifes and drums play not only colonial martial music but also the joyous and peaceful songs of Christmas. Citizens of the town and thousands of visitors join the march carrying torches and lanterns to the town green for a community carol sing led by the high school band.
CONTACTS:
Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce
1 Main St.
P.O. Box 625
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
860-388-3266
www.oldsaybrookchamber.com