What is a Festival?

Each year one of the Masonic Provinces holds a Festival in support of a chosen central Masonic Charity. The money raised from this makes a significant contribution to the income of the Charity and allows us to help even more people in need. Members of the Province are encouraged to support the appeal and the Festival, which is celebrated at an event at which the final total raised, is announced.

Most Festivals have a figurehead who presides over the whole event; the President of the Surrey 2019 Festival is the Provincial Grand Master. For Masons, the Festival is the climax of five years of fund raising by a Province which is celebrated by hosting a Festival Banquet, attended by those who have qualified as Stewards during the Festival together with their ladies. The Province will have been raising money and donating to the Festival throughout all this period. The Freemasons’ Charities are extremely grateful for the generous contributions made in recent years in terms of both time and money.

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It is not always known that every year there are four Masonic Festivals throughout the English and Welsh Craft Provinces, each being in favour of one of the four Masonic charities. The Festival system spreads the load evenly over the 47 Masonic Provinces in England and Wales ensuring an annual income for each of the Masonic charities but also allows those Provinces not currently in a Festival period to alternatively donate to other causes of their own choice.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the United Grand Lodge of England created what are now four charities to specifically support as the core of our Masonic fund raising, the four Grand Charities:

 

  • The Grand Charity – making donations to both Masonic and Non-Masonic charities
  • The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution – Helping Freemasons and their dependents with housing and care
  • The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys – Helping with the education of the children of both Freemasons and Non-Freemasons
  • The Masonic Samaritan Fund – Helping Freemasons and their dependents with medical care

Obviously, these charities each require substantial income to cover their large expenditure and, in addition to other sources, such as investment income, a very high proportion of their annual funding income comes each year from one of the 47 Provinces; that is, from the results of an extended period of charitable giving by the Province’s brethren, called a Festival, over anything from 5 to 7 years.