From Yule Log to Buche de Noel

While the traditional Yule Log is associated with Great Britain – as its television broadcast/DVD version is associated with America – it seems to have originated in the misty past of Central Germany and Westphalia.   It is certainly of pagan origin as are many of our Christian customs.  To quote Sir James George Frazer in… Continue reading From Yule Log to Buche de Noel

From  St Nicholas to Sir Christmas to Old Father Christmas to Santa Claus….

“….the beautiful, unspoiled Mediterranean town of Patara is the birthplace of the bearded gift-giver, who we look out for with such excitement on Christmas Eve. Or rather, the birthplace of the third century Christian saint whose life of kindness and miraculous do-goodery created a legend which has evolved down the centuries, and given us the… Continue reading From  St Nicholas to Sir Christmas to Old Father Christmas to Santa Claus….

Medieval poinsettias? I think not….

Well, I can’t believe poinsettias, pretty as they are, ever featured in medieval European Christmas festivities! Any more than turkeys, roast potatoes, cranberries, chocolate and other such delights that are due entirely to the New World. The above picture is from this article about the pagan origins of Christmas, and for all its New World… Continue reading Medieval poinsettias? I think not….

St Nicholas and the commencement of the Christmas season….

It seems the Bible didn’t actually specify a birth date for Christ. The Church decided on various dates, and today we observe the event on 25th December, but many of us regard the season itself (as distinct from the birth date) as commencing on 6th December, the Feast of St Nicholas, who has now evolved… Continue reading St Nicholas and the commencement of the Christmas season….

Who’s coming to dinner (a guest post)

How did this happen? Am I dreaming? Is there some sort of Time-slip? Yet here I am, somehow “transposed” from my 21st century self to a Lady-in-Waiting, helping to host a secret dinner. I cannot understand how or why it has occurred, all I know is that it is the end of February 1485, after… Continue reading Who’s coming to dinner (a guest post)

The Traitor’s Arms?

In 1840 workmen carrying out repairs to St Bartholomew’s Church, Ashperton, Herefordshire were collecting stones from the ruins of a nearby manor house when they discovered a heavy stone plaque, carved with an elaborate coat of arms, among the rubble. The stone was taken to the church for safekeeping and has hung on the wall… Continue reading The Traitor’s Arms?

A royal Christmas invitation for Matthew Paris of St Albans….

“ . . . . Christmas with the King [ Henry III ] doesn’t immediately sound like the social engagement you would expect for a Benedictine monk, but wind the clock back to the early 13th century and for one particularly colourful religious figure, a royal invitation was nothing out of the norm . .… Continue reading A royal Christmas invitation for Matthew Paris of St Albans….

Epiphany – medieval and now….

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the following two definitions refer to the use of the word epiphany:- The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12). Definition (1) A moment of sudden and great revelation/realisation. Definition (2) Epiphany has been a recognised feast of the Western Church since the 5th… Continue reading Epiphany – medieval and now….

King Edward IV’s Last Christmas….

Reconstruction of Christmas at Eltham 1482 – Historic England (illustration by Peter Urmston) In the 14th century it became a royal tradition to spend Christmas at Eltham, and by 1482, Edward IV also held his Christmas there. The top picture is an imagined scene of this Christmas in the great hall (pictured immediately above) with… Continue reading King Edward IV’s Last Christmas….