Ernest Hemingway Foundation celebrates Boxing Day in Oak Park
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:34PM
OAK PARK — Food, music and tours are in store as an Oak Park institution celebrates a holiday tradition.
This event, at the Ernest Hemingway birth home, 339 N. Oak Park Ave., comes a day after the stockings have been taken down and the wrappings crumpled up -- on Boxing Day, Dec. 26.
Folks of all ages come to the home for this every year. Many come every year to share the warm old house’s hospitality, the music and quaint English foods, hot tea and stories with roots 2,000 years old. It is a 20-year-old “new” tradition.
Hemingway’s family wrote about it with great nostalgia so that the present-day Foundation named after Hemingway could replicate both the house itself and the traditions of the holiday for a whole new generation.
In the early days of the Christian era, a kind of deacon — who came to be known as St. Stephen for feeding the poor and caring for the needy — began a tradition that on his feast day, Dec. 26, medieval lords of the manor took remnants of their Christmas feasts in boxes to share with their peasants. Generations of English folks to this day give gifts to friends and those who serve them, hence the name, “Boxing Day.”
Ernest Hemingway’s family, with roots in England, continued that tradition at the beginning of the 1900s in a house brimming with hospitality and generosity.
In that spirit, on Wednesday, Dec. 26, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park will provide the foods of the past, and Laura Fako Utley, harpist, at noon, will be the first musician to perform. The Home Street Recorder Ensemble will play at 1 p.m. Then history singers John and Kathryn Atwood, will sing Christmas songs at 2 p.m. A Readers Theater cast will perform “Gifts of the Hemingway Home” at 2:30 p.m. and Barbara Ann Fackler, harpist and Sue Young, flutist, will play at 3 p.m. to help everyone in the community wind down the day after Christmas. There are tours of the old house as well for newcomers.
Admission: free to Foundation members and volunteers; $10 to nonmembers; $7 to seniors and youth; $1 off admission with donations to Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry at the door.
Tickets also may be purchased online at ehfop.org.
The Hemingway Museum, just down the street at 200 N. Oak Park Ave., will also be open from 1 to 5 p.m. to tell the rest of the story of Hemingway’s life.
For more information on how to extend the holiday celebration for one more day, call (708) 848-2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.