Nursery Rhymes

Religious Festivals

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Religious Festivals
The Life of people during the Middle ages was dictated by the changes in the season. The different seasons and months of the year were celebrated with Religious Feasts and Festivals. The religion of Christianity had been established in England during the Dark Ages. In the Middle Ages, following the Norman conquest, new stone churches and cathedrals were built.

Religious festivals marked an event of religious importance for every month of the year. The rural population of the Middle Ages had their days of rest and amusement, which were then much more numerous than at present. At that period the festivals of the Church were frequent and rigidly kept, as each of them was the pretext for a forced holiday from manual labour. A calendar of Religious other festivals are detailed as follows:

January
Religious Festivals in January: Twelfth Night Religious festival and feasts celebrating the visit of the Wise Men, or Magi, following the birth of Jesus.

February
Religious Festivals in February: St Valentine's Day. The Medieval festival celebrating love - singing, dancing and pairing games.

March
Religious Festivals in March:  Easter celebrated by the Mystery plays depicting the crucifixion ( Good Friday) and the resurrection ( Easter Monday )

April
Festivals in April: All Fool's Day. The Jesters, or Lords of Misrule, took charge for the day and caused mayhem with jokes and jests!

May
Festivals in May: May Day was a spring festival celebrating May Day when a Queen of the May was chosen and villagers danced around the maypole

June
Festivals in June: Midsummer Eve, the Mummers entertained at the 'Festival of Fire' reliving legends such as St George and the Dragon. Bones were often burned leading to the term 'bonfire'. The summer Solstice was June 23rd.

July
Religious Festivals in July: St. Swithin's Day falls on 15th July. Legend says that during the bones of St Swithin were moved and after the ceremony it began to rain and continued to do so for forty days.

August
Religious Festivals in August: Lammas Day was celebrated on August 2nd. The ' loaf-mass ' day, the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year. Houses were sometimes decorated with garlands and there were candle lit processions.

September
Religious Festivals in September: 29th September was when Michaelmas celebrated the life of St Michael and the traditional food on Michaelmas was goose or chicken

October
Religious Festivals in October: October 25th celebrating St Crispin's Day. Revels and bonfires and people acted as 'King Crispin'.

November
Religious Festivals in November: The Day of the Dead - All Souls Day or All Hallow's Day ( Halloween ) when revels were held and bonfires were lit.

December
Religious Festivals in December: Christmas celebrations.

Middle Ages Religion
Middle Ages Index

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