The Medieval people of the Middle Ages shared a common life in the work of the fields, in the sports of the village green, and in the services of the parish church. They enjoyed many holidays; it has been estimated that, besides Sundays, about eight weeks in every year were free from work. Festivities at Christmas, Easter, and May Day, at the end of ploughing and the completion of harvest, relieved the monotony of the daily round of labor.
Entertainment in the Middle Ages - The Entertainers
Who were the people who provided the entertainment during the Middle Ages? The Medieval entertainers of the Middle Ages included Jesters (A fool or buffoon at medieval courts), Mummers (Masked or costumed merrymaker or dancers at festivals), Minstrels and Troubadours, acrobats and jugglers and conjurers.
Games and Entertainment in the Middle Ages
Medieval Games of the Middle Ages were popular in all walks of society. Games were played by the Upper classes and the Lower classes. By adults and children. Different types of Games and entertainment fell into a number of different categories including Card Games, Board Games, Dice Games, Sporting Games and Children's games.
The following board games were played and enjoyed as entertainment during the Middle Ages:
- Tables - Backgammon
- Nine Men's Morris
- Alquerques - A classic period strategy game, an ancestor of Checkers
- Fox & Geese - a game of strategy
- The Philosophers Game - a game of strategy and numbers
- Shovelboard - the ancestor of shuffleboard
- Knucklebones - Early game of dice
- Hazard - an ancestor of Craps
Outdoor Entertainment in the Middle Ages
Outdoor Entertainment during the Middle Ages centred around the Village Green and at local fairs and included a variety of Medieval Sports:
- Archery - Archery contests were especially popular
- Colf - the ancestor of Golf
- Gameball - a simple football game
- Hurling or Shinty - a similar game to hockey
- Horseshoes - throwing horseshoes at a target
- Quarter-staff contests
- Skittles - an ancestor of modern ten-pin bowling
- Stoolball - an ancestor of Cricket
Outdoor entertainment also included the practises of certain festivals including May Day when people danced around a maypole and choose a May Queen. Religious plays were re-enacted by the Mummers.
Entertainment for Rich People in the Middle Ages
Entertainment for rich people centred around the spectacles of jousting and feasts or banquets. The Medieval Period of the Middle Ages was becoming more refined and elegant and the concept of courtly love was introduced and displayed at both tournaments and jousts. The sumptuous feasts and banquets also provided entertainment for rich people during the Middle Ages. During the feast musicians would play and provide musical entertainment. After feasting entertainment might be provided by minstrels, troubadours, jesters, acrobats, fire-eaters and conjurers. The dance was also important as part of 'courtly love' entertainment. Knights were expected not only to fight but also to dance. Also refer to Middle Ages Food for a King and Jousting in the Middle Ages.