Tag Archives: Christmas

An Emperor’s Christmas at Eltham in 1400

The south London suburb of Eltham today seems an improbable location for a Medieval Christmas celebration involving kings and emperors, but the area was, in the Fifteenth Century, in open countryside, just a day’s ride from London, but sufficiently distant … Continue reading

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Illuminating the medieval Nativity

One of the British Library’s newly digitised manuscripts is well worth a look this Christmas-time (Cotton MS Caligula A VII/1). It was made somewhere in North-East France or Flanders in the 12th century, and it contains eight sumptuous scenes from … Continue reading

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Christmas at the Medieval Court

Though Christmas was very different in the Middle Ages, many of the pastimes and activities that we associate with it would have been familiar to medieval people. Feasting, playing games, singing, drinking around a fire, decorating the house with evergreens, … Continue reading

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The Tudor Christmas of 1487

Although Christmas traditions in the UK appear set in stone, for example the tree, the songs and the food, it’s very much been an evolving process since the earliest days we started marking the birth of Jesus Christ. The way … Continue reading

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Christmas Coronations

Throughout the Middle Ages, Christmas was a season of festivities and celebrations, just as it is today. 25 December was certainly a high point of this festive season, beginning the twelve days of Christmas which would last until Epiphany. On … Continue reading

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Nails, needles, chains and angels: the pain and joy of ‘In dulci jubilo’

Woodcut self-portrait by Heinrich Suso (Inkunabel K. 7, Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg), c. 1365. In dulci jubilo is one of the most recognisable and joyful melodies of the middle ages, but it carries one of the most shocking … Continue reading

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Celebrating the New Year, Medieval Style

How did medieval people mark the passing of the New Year? Well, interestingly enough, it wasn’t always celebrated on January 1st. That date was the first day of the Roman civil year. When Roman law was revived in the Middle … Continue reading

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