Monday, September 07, 2009

Tall Cedars of Lebanon


With the Jerry Lewis Telethon for MDA going on this weekend, viewers will undoubtedly see an appearance by members of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America. But who are these guys in the oddest of fraternal headgear?

In 1843, a degree was developed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey called the Ancient and Honorable Rite of Humility. It was more along the lines of a good-natured candidate hazing than a Masonic degree. It became known more simply as the Tall Cedar Degree (the reference is to the trees brought from Lebanon to be used in the building of Solomon’s Temple). The degree rattled around New Jersey and Pennsylvania for over 60 years and became a popular event whenever it was conferred.
In 1902, a group met to officially organize the Tall Cedars of Lebanon as its own fraternal organization, to promote “fun, frolic, and friendship,” and to standardize their ritual. Local chapters are called forests, and members are called tall cedars. Their adopted headgear is a pyramid-shaped hat with a tassel.

The degree is purely for fun. Membership is open only to Master Masons. The group is mostly concentrated on the East Coast of the United States. Since 1933, their primary charitable concern has been muscular dystrophy, and they provide money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). They also operate the Jerry Lewis Tall Cedar Day Camp for children with the disease.

You can find more on the Tall Cedars at their Web site http://www.tallcedars.org


2 comments:

Horatio Caine said...

Need to add the "http://" to the beginning of that link, good Sir Knight.

-Skerdog / Tom

I saw a presentation in Hancock #101 on the Tall Cedars and was very impressed. Unfortunately now that I'm in Evansville, the closest forest is in Indianapolis. :(

Chris Hodapp said...

Thanks. Fixed.