Just a quick post to say Happy Christmas to everyone who has ever looked at Tudor Stuff.
This blog is now very nearly one year old, from a slow start it is has grown really well – it has had thousands of hits and is looked at by people all over the world. In the process of putting all of this together I have learnt a great deal about this fascinating period in our history – which was always what the blog was intended to do.
An important feature of this blog has been the photographs it has featured. Some of these are my own work but the majority are kindly lent to Tudor Stuff by talented people on Flickr who have kindly agreed to allow me to use their work – thanks then to those people.
I thought that by way of a post I ought to have a Christmas theme. Much that we associate with Christmas today was unheard of in Tudor times – but I have managed to find a few things that the Tudors would have recognised. Of course, this is also an excuse to show some suitably snowy scenes from the English countryside, as I type this I can see the snow on the road outside & for once I don’t feel a fraud associating England, Christmas & snow!
The Christmas festival in Tudor times
For the most part, Christmas traditions were those that had been practised by people for hundreds of years. Houses were decorated with holly, ivy and mistletoe – all of which reflect ancient pre Christian beliefs.
Other traditions involved games of football, house to house visiting ( a bit like modern ‘Trick or treat’ in the USA) as well as plays performed by ‘Mummers’. Some of these traditions were discouraged under Edward VI and banned completely under Cromwellian puritan rule. Despite occasional official dissaproval however many of these traditions survive to this day.
The 12 days of Christmas were celebrated between 25th of December to 6th of January, the longest festival of the year. In 1511 the Christmas festivities were extended by Henry VIII in celebration of the birth on New Years Day of a son named after himself. Sadly as with many of Catherine of Aragon’s children this child lived for only 52 days.
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Shakespeare – ‘Loves labours lost’
Many of our Christmas Carols date from after the Tudor period although apparently one of the earliest books of Carols was produced in 1521 by Jan Van Wynkn – this included the Boars Head Carol
Another Carol that would have been known at this time was ‘The first Noel’ – which dates from the 13th Century- although it was not written down until much later.
Do you follow any Christmas traditions? Are these old ones or have you developed new ones, perhaps associated with your own family?
If so – it would be great to hear from you
All that remains for me to do is to wish you all a Merry Christmas & Happy new year. If you get a minute to say hello – please feel free to do so
Love & best wishes to you all
PS Check out Roantrums (photographer featured at top of this post) web site