Friday, January 3, 2014

Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas Special



Published on Jan 3, 2014
Today we think of Christmas as a relatively modern, post-Victorian celebration, but the Tudors took it very seriously indeed. For a start, they celebrated for the whole Twelve Days of Christmas, with many manorial rules stipulating that "villeins are to do no work" on the Lord's land for the 12 days.

Christmas Day itself, rather than being the culmination of Christmas as it is now, was just the warm-up. The observance of Advent (a month of fasting) ended with Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and kicked off 12 Days of non-stop feasting and merriment, which peaked on New Year's Day and finally ended on Twelfth Night.

Ruth, Peter and Tom concentrate on three of the big Christmas feast days: Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Twelfth Night. They make Tudor decorations, engage in festive revels and prepare Christmas feasting delights such as Boar's Head, Shred Pies (the fore-runners of Mince Pies, made with meat) and Christmas Pudding.

Along the way, they turn their hands to falconry and archery, and make Tudor bagpipes. They discover the Tudor origins of Christmas Carols, the singing of which was known as wassailing, and find out more about the medieval forerunner of Father Christmas: the Lord of Misrule. This was traditionally a commoner placed in authority over his social betters for the festive period and tasked with directing the Christmas revelry - a figure so popular that even the King himself had one at Court.
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