The Nazareth Rotary Club will be selling commemorative roses in honor of the historic “payment day" from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.
The long-stemmed roses, which are being provided by , will sell for $3.50 each. The sale is in its fifth year.
But why a rose sale? And, more important, what is the significance of "payment day?"
Before last year's rose sale, Sue Dreydoppel, a local historian and Nazareth Rotary Club member, :
Originally, Nazareth was a tract of 5,000 acres owned by William Penn’s family. When the Penn family sold the land to George Whitefield, the feudal tax was one red rose. Every year -- on June 24 -- Whitefield would pay one red rose to the Penn family, explained Dreydoppel.
The rose tax can be traced back to medieval times in England, Dreydoppel said, adding that the tax was a way for baronies -- estates controlled by knights of a baron (nobleman) -- to show their fealty (allegiance).
“[The tax] was just a formality… a way to swear allegiance,” Dreydoppel said. “But back then, it was English law.”
The tradition started by the Penn family of "payment day" led to Nazareth’s Colonial name, “The Barony of the Rose.” In addition, Whitefield called his tract of land "The Barony of Nazareth" before the Moravians purchased the land in 1741.
In present day Nazareth, evidence of "The Barony of the Rose" can be seen on signs that welcome travelers to the historic town.
A re-enactment of the historic rose presentation will be performed by costumed performers at noon on June 9 as part of the at the Whitefield House, 214 E. Center St.
Rotarians and members from the and Interact Clubs will be stationed at several locations throughout the Nazareth area selling the long-stemmed roses.
Center Square in downtown Nazareth will be the main location to purchase roses.
Availability of roses at these locations will depend on volunteer turnout on the days of the sale.
The Nazareth Rotary Club holds several fundraisers throughout the year, the proceeds of which benefit the , the , the and the , just to name a few. The club also awards two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors from Nazareth Area High School.