What is a Masonic Installation?
Masonic Installations are ceremonies in Freemasonry whereby the Masonic Lodge’s Officers for the year are “installed”, replacing the previous year’s officers. Masonic installations usually occur towards the end of the year.
The basic group unit of Freemasonry is the Masonic Lodge, sort of similar to “chapters” in other organizations. Like a corporate board of directors, each Masonic Lodge has a team of Officers who lead and direct the Lodge. These Officers usually change every year to keep things fresh and to allow Masons to gain leadership experience.
Installation of the Lodge’s leader
In a Masonic Lodge, the highest ranking officer is the Worshipful Master. The Worshipful Master leads the members of the Masonic Lodge and holds term for one year. Due to the honor bestowed, it is a time of celebration and festivities.
The installation is a ceremonial changing of guard, and the previous years Worshipful Master is thanked for his service and presented with a specific jewel called a “Past Master’s Jewel”, which he will then be able to wear during Masonic meetings.
Also due to his service as a Worshipful Master, he is to be thenceforth referred to as “Worshipful Brother” instead of just “Brother”.
Installation of the other Masonic officers
Although the spotlight is on the incumbent Worshipful Master, the Lodge’s other officers are also installed during the Installation. These officers include young Freemasons who are taking office for the first time. For more on Masonic Officers, see here.
To hold the highest ranking position in the Masonic Lodge is a great honor within Freemasonry; you are now elected the leader of the Masonic Lodge and your fellow Freemason Lodge members. Because of this, it is a time of celebration and festivities.
After the Installation ceremony is over (behind closed doors), a grand dinner or “Festive Board” ensues. This is complete with good food, gifts, music and entertainment. Because its a significant event in the new leaders life, family are also usually invited to attend to the dinner.
Grand Lodge installations
Grand Lodges and Provincial/District Grand Lodges are administrative bodies within Freemasonry that oversee all Masonic Lodges in their specific geographic jurisdiction. Grand Lodges are types of Lodge themselves and so have their own Grand Lodge officers.
Due to Grand Lodge’s important role in control and oversight, its Grand Lodge Officers change guard less regularly and stay in office for years. The same is true for Provincial Grand Lodges.
Installations are the ceremonial changing of guard for Masonic Officers in Freemasonry. The yearly event is greatly anticipated and allows all Freemasons of the Lodge to experience leadership and directing the Lodge into the future.