What is a Masonic Hall?
A Masonic Hall is a building specifically used to host Masonic activities, including most Masonic Lodge meetings. Masonic Halls are usually quite ornate, and have dedicated rooms for different types of Masonic meetings.
Most of our Masonic activity happens here, in Masonic Halls. Owing to Freemasonry’s history as builders of great cathedrals and buildings throughout medieval Europe, Masonic Halls tend to be quite ornate and grand, especially in the big cities.
You’ll find a Masonic Hall in most cities and even towns across the world, except where it has been banned.
In smaller areas with small populations, a Masonic Hall may just be a smaller building which is used for Lodge Meetings – even these however tend to be quite ornately designed inside.
What’s inside a Masonic Hall?
Every Masonic Hall has its own unique style and history, but all will have certain features in common. Let’s have a look at some:
Lodge Meeting Rooms
Freemasons are organized into local Masonic Lodges (like chapters) which usually meet every month. In each Masonic Hall there will be dedicated rooms especially for these Masonic Meetings. This is because Masonic Meetings are conducted in a very specific way, and requires a special room layout.
These rooms are known as Craft Lodge Rooms, “craft” referring collectively to the 3 degrees of Freemasonry. These will usually be the most frequented room in the Hall.
Rooms for other branches of Freemasonry
There are also usually Lodge Rooms for other optional parts of Freemasonry, beyond Craft Freemasonry. After a Mason has attained the 3rd and highest degree of Freemasonry, he can venture out into other “side-degrees” of Freemasonry, each with their own rituals and ways.
These optional areas of Freemasonry usually have their own separate rooms within the Masonic Hall. As these meetings are different and use different rituals and instruments, they need their own rooms.
Following each Masonic meeting is usually a meal, where the members of the Masonic Lodge gather and socialize and eat together. This meal is known as the “Festive Board”, and there’s usually a large dining area and catering facilities in the Masonic Hall to cater for this.
A lot of Masonic Halls have their own entertainment areas within, to keep the brethren happy. This could be pool tables, karaoke areas, TVs, bars etc. Masonic Halls usually allow other non-masonic public bodies to use these facilities.
Can non-Masons enter Masonic Halls?
Yes, definitely. In fact, we actively encourage non-Masons to come to their local Masonic Hall for a tour or visit. The only exception is that you can’t enter Lodge rooms when Lodge meetings are in progress, and some parts of the Hall may be off limits. Other than that, Freemasons love to give tours.
Some Masonic Halls openly offer tours or as part of a tourist trail.
What’s the nearest Masonic Hall to you? Comment below