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Posts Tagged ‘Happy Christmas’

Bridleway in Snow Revisited

Bridleway in Snow Revisited : Roantrum on Flickr (Click image)

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.

Dressed in white

Dressed in white : Robert Silverwood on Flickr (click image)

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!

Winter sprinkles by Nige in Somerset on Flickr

Winter sprinkles by Nige in Somerset on Flickr (click image)

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.

Marshfield Mummers 2 : Mark Dixon on Flickr

Marshfield Mummers 2 : Mark Dixon on Flickr

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’


WHEN icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whoo!
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all around the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl—
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whoo!
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


Christmas Carols

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.

Happy Christmas!

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

Anyway..

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

Andy

PS Check out Roantrums (photographer featured at top of this post) web site

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