Category Archives: Holidays

Re-enacting the death of Jesus: medieval Good Friday

Medieval churches tried to dramatize the death of Jesus; their idea of re-enactment was liturgical, symbolic, and heavily loaded with music. In Biblical dramas staged publicly during the summer, an actor might play the role of Jesus, tied and faux-nailed … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, in the Middle Ages, was a day for charitable acts. Some kings made a practice of washing the feet of beggars. Louix IX of France, later St. Louis, washed the feet of lepers. In more ordinary aristocratic and … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Easter season

By the week leading up to Easter, medieval people were certainly tired of the Lenten fast. Milk could be turned into cheese, but nobody was allowed to eat it; they only had butter if their region had a papal indulgence. … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays | Leave a comment

Lenten fish

I’ll do another entry on Lent and fasting. It’s worth just talking about fish. Some fish came from ponds and were probably fresh. Monasteries knew in advance that they’d be fasting for every possible fast day year round, so they … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Holidays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lent begins

The fast season of Lent was not nearly as unique in the medieval year as it is in the modern. Fast days punctuated the year, and the entire four weeks before Christmas was also a fast. Lent was merely the … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays | Tagged | 2 Comments

The beginning of Lent

Shrove Tuesday, ca. 1200 meant three things: food, cockfighting, and mummers. Food, obviously. A forty-day fast was about to begin. Chiefly, they would eat no animal products, so any and all animal products, especially meat, had to be eaten. The … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Holidays | Leave a comment