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Tue Mar 24, 2020, 02:24 PM

Coronavirus: Freemasons invite public to take part in centuries-old tradition


The UK’s Freemasons are breaking with convention to invite outsiders to take part in one of their centuries-old traditions as a reminder that people are “not alone” during the coronavirus crisis.

For more than 300 years, the world of the Freemasons has been a secretive and strictly segregated affair, but with the nation now in lockdown, the organisation is inviting members of the public to join in its daily “Nine O’clock Toast” to absent friends.

Explaining the tradition to Newsweek, Dr David Staples, CEO and grand secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), said: “Our members know that wherever they are in the world and whatever they are doing at nine o’clock, somebody will be raising a glass to them and remembering them.”

With millions of people currently in self-isolation in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the Freemason are expanding the tradition to remember not only “absent brethren” but also anyone else not present.

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