Shaker Festivals

Shaker Festivals

Various
Shakers are members of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, a celibate sect founded in 1747 in England. The Society, an offshoot of the Quakers, adopted ritual practices such as shaking, shouting, dancing, whirling, and singing in tongues, hence the nickname "Shakers." Communal settlements were established in the United States by Shaker leader Ann Lee, an Englishwoman known to her followers as Mother Ann and thought to be the first of the Believers to experience the constant indwelling of the spirit of Christ. She came to America in 1774 and founded the first Shaker church in what is now Watervliet, New York. The Shaker movement later spread throughout New England, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. It reached its peak in the 1840s with a total membership of about 6,000. By 1905 the movement counted only 1,000 adherents. Today less than a dozen Shakers remain, living together in a small community at Sabbathday Lake, Maine.
The simple lines of Shaker furniture and other crafts strongly influenced American furniture design. What's more, craftspeople from these inventive communities designed the first screw propeller, rotary harrow, clothespin, and other items.
A number of Shaker festivals take place at Shaker museums and historic villages across the country. In South Union, Kentucky, the Shaker Museum hosts "Civil War Days" in mid-August, a two-day recreation of life in South Union's Shaker community during the Civil War. In late September the Museum sponsors "Harvest Day," an event that allows visitors to experience a day in a Shaker community around harvest time in the 1870s.
The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, holds a "Day of Releasement" in late July, in which visitors experience life in a Shaker community on a day off from work. They also celebrate a "Shaker Fourth" on the Fourth of July, recreating a typical Shaker Independence Day. Various Shaker villages and museums honor Mother Ann Day on August 5, in which they celebrate the life of Shaker leader Ann Lee.
CONTACTS:
Shaker Museum
P.O. Box 30
South Union, KY 42283
800-811-8379 or 270-542-4167; fax: 270-542-7558
www.shakermuseum.com
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village Museum
707 Shaker Rd.
New Gloucester, ME 04260
207-926-4597
www.shaker.lib.me.us
Shaker Heritage Society
1848 Shaker Meeting House, Albany-Shaker Rd.
Albany, NY 12211
518-456-7890; fax: 518-452-7348
www.crisny.org
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