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Joseph Brackett Day – May 6, 2023

We are celebrating Joseph Brackett Day on May 6. It is a day to celebrate the amazing talent of the songwriter and composer of the song ‘Simple Gifts.’ He is also well known as an author, and songwriter. He later became an elder of The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, also known as Shakers. The Tune Lovers Society is an online organization to protect and preserve old American tunes. They sponsored a birthday commemoration for Brackett on May 6, which became Joseph Brackett Day. This year we are also joining in on the celebrations of Joseph Brackett Day.

History of Joseph Brackett Day

Joseph Brackett Jr. was born in 1797 in Cumberland, Maine. He joined the Shakers community when he was just 10. The community was short-lived, but a new community was formed that was centered on Brackett’s property. The group moved to Poland Hill in 1819. He worked for the community in the following years and later became its head. In between, he lost his father on July 27, 1838.

Brackett wrote ‘Simple Gifts’ in 1848. The song initially did not receive much popularity. It was a small song about simplicity and humility. It used a little rhythm for dancing that the Shakers practiced in their religious activities. Brackett never expected his song to be this popular. But today, it is one of the most popular songs. It is sung everywhere, including in churches, T.V. shows, weddings, funerals, etc. Many versions of the song were released throughout the years by various individuals. But the song hit popularity when Aaron Copland used the tone in one of the scores that he used for ballet.

Brackett, being an elder of The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, never married. Shakers are essentially Christians, but with a few changes in their belief system. They believe that the end of the world is fast approaching and that the second coming of Christ will happen soon.

Joseph Brackett Day timeline

February 29, 1736
Ann Lee is Born

Ann Lee, commonly known as Mother Ann, is born in Manchester.

1787
The First Shaker Community

The first Shaker community establishes its base in New Lebanon, New York.

May 6, 1797
Birth of Joseph Brackett

Joseph Brackett is born in Cumberland, Maine.

1848
The 'Simple Gifts'

Joseph Brackett composes his famous song 'Simple Gifts.'

Joseph Brackett Day FAQs

What is Joseph Brackett Day?

Joseph Brackett Day is a day to commemorate the birthday of songwriter and composer Joseph Brackett and his famous song, ‘Simple Gifts.’

Where was Joseph Brackett from?

Joseph Brackett was from Cumberland, Maine, United States.

What did the Shakers invent?

The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, also known as the Shakers, is a community of Christian people who believe in Christ’s second appearance. They live and work together in small communities. They are also known for their inventions like the flat broom, metal pen nibs, wash mill (which is a prototype of the washing machine), the circular saw, and many more.

Joseph Brackett Day Activities

  1. Read about the Shakers

    The Shakers were once an active community that is rapidly declining. Learn about the Shakers, their beliefs, and their practices.

  2. Learn 'Simple Gifts'

    'Simple Gifts' is a simple and short song. Learn to sing it on this day as a tribute.

  3. Explore the different versions of 'Simple Gifts'

    There are various versions of the song and you can try to make your version too. You may just uncover a hidden talent.

5 Facts About Shakers That You Didn’t Know

  1. Inspiration from French Camisards

    The Shakers’ practices like shaking, shouting, dancing, whirling, etc. are inspired by French Camisards.

  2. Seed packaging and marketing

    The Shakers were the first to package and market seeds in the U.S.

  3. The largest producers of medicinal herbs

    The Shakers were the largest producers of medicinal herbs in the U.S.

  4. The economic communism

    The Shakers practiced a form of economic communism where members surrendered their property to the community.

  5. Shakers and furniture production

    The Shakers' furniture is very popular and embodies the idea that beauty rests on utility.

Why We Love Joseph Brackett Day

  1. It’s a peek into the Shaker community

    We love to explore communities and their practices. Joseph Brackett is a part of the Shaker community and the day provides an opportunity to explore the community.

  2. It’s a day for 'Simple Gifts'

    Joseph Brackett is best known for his famous song 'Simple Gifts.' We love the song and we love the idea that the song is also getting attention on this day.

  3. Importance of community living

    The Shakers live together in small communities. It is an amazing experience for those who love such a lifestyle.

Joseph Brackett Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 6Saturday
2024May 6Monday
2025May 6Tuesday
2026May 6Wednesday
2027May 6Thursday

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