Especially the celebration of Christmas in the Middle Ages
Back in the IV century, Pope Julius I declared December 25 the birthday of Christ. By the end of the 8th century believers across Europe celebrated the feast of feasts and folk festivals. Here are some of the most popular ways of celebrating Christmas in the Middle Ages.
Singing Christmas carols
Vassayling - a tradition to go from house to house, singing - is rooted more in pagan times. wassail (vassayl) with an Anglo-Saxon translation for "to be in good health." Later, the word came to be associated with the hot apple cider which they drank during the Christmas holidays. Cup of this drink were from house to house those who have praised the singing of Christ, offering a drink and listen to the song in exchange for gifts. The tradition of singing carols at Christmas has survived to the present day, but the booze modern waits usually leave home.
The sacrificial hog
If you want to impress your guests during the Christmas holidays, the boar's head with an apple in his mouth, which was introduced in the bountiful hall on a silver platter, is the best suited for this purpose. Of course, not every family can afford for Christmas this dish. For less affluent pie in the shape of a pig was a popular alternative.
The Bean King
Even during the celebration of the pagan solstice there was a tradition to cook the cake, which is baked in a single bean. Whoever found the bean in his piece, became "king" of the whole year. After a year of temporary king was sacrificed, its blood was sprinkled on the ground that the harvest was good. When medieval Christians adopted this tradition at Christmas, they have made some adjustments. The one who found the bean in the cake, not sacrificed, he became "King" only for a day, and on this day everything is subject to his "orders".
julebukking - a medieval Scandinavian tradition. At Christmas, the Scandinavians put on masks and costumes and go from house to house, begging for food. It seems to celebrate Halloween, you say? Yes, but the guests were not cute babies: they were usually drunk adults. Horror! Now this tradition is not as popular as before, but it still observe some Norwegians and Americans of Scandinavian origin.
Plays on biblical subjects
Staging plays were a popular form of entertainment for the spectators at the medieval Christmas holidays. Actors usually priests, played scenes from the Bible, and, optionally, it was the story of the birth of Christ. Plays, which described the end of the world, the murder of innocents by Herod, too, put on the stage, although some of the sight of the priest in the form of Herod or Lucifer eyes climbed on his forehead.
In the Middle Ages, kings and queens throughout Europe, inspired by the biblical story of the three wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus, demanded tribute from their subjects for Christmas. Following them, the landlords began demanding gifts from the peasants, which for the holiday nothing was supposed to, despite the fact that they were the poorest people in the kingdom. According to legend, the Czech Prince of the 10th century Wenceslas I was one of the first rulers who changed the situation and began to distribute food, clothes and firewood to the poor at Christmas.
Traditionally, it was a man, able to arrange a merry feast, entertain and joke well. King of Clutter and his merry "courtiers" were on the streets in masks, playing a musical instrument. Procession to the church where the merry could interrupt service, drowning her with songs and dances. Everyone had to obey the King of Confusion. Fortunately for revelers, mostly he commanded more to drink and have fun.
In the Middle Ages, gambling was an integral part of the cheerful feasts during the Christmas holidays. We played both adults and children, playing even those who did not allow himself such liberties on the other days of his life. Dice was one of the most popular player throws them on any surface that could be found, including a church altar.