All the fun of the fair! What should I remember? All year festivals…. • Customs and festivals played an important part in Elizabethan life • They were organised by the Church and took place at the same time every year • They were part of the Church calendar and all Elizabethans looked forward to them
Our Elizabethan Church Calendar We will be basing our RE assessment around the Church and why Festivals might have been so important to the Elizabethans. To prepare for this, we will create our own Calendars based on the Elizabethan church festivals. We will spend one 3 hour session working in a pair or triad to produce a specific page for a class Elizabethan calendar.
Planning • Fill in each part of the 12 month grid • You will then be allocated a month to work on for the calendar • You will work on artwork and a description of the Festival • Artwork and writing will be shared between pairs and triads by planning the month together and checking it off with me
January: Twelfth Night and Epiphany • Usually the night of 5th January and marks the formal end of the Christmas merrymaking and the 12 Days of Christmas • It marks the beginning of the Epiphany: the day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ • The three wise men visited Jesus on January 6th
February: Valentine’s Day! • The Elizabethan festival celebrating love: singing, dancing and pairing games. • On St. Valentines Day you eat “foods of love” which includes rare roast beef in golden pastry and roasted chestnuts in cream • Gorgeous fragrances are used, including Rosemary, Basil, Yarrow & Bay leaves which float in water or are released by spice candles • “Love knots” were a symbol representing love without a beginning or end, these knots were made of gold, a metal that never tarnishes to symbolize never-ending love • Activities of the night include choosing a partner that symbolizes a mate for marrying and pairs getting shot by Cupid’s “love arrows”, were said to be “Valentines”
March: Easter • Easter was celebrated by the Mystery Plays depicting the Crucifixion (Good Friday) and the Resurrection (Easter Monday) • Just before Easter were the 40 days of Lent, a period of fasting and abstinence after a period of merriment. During this time we reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins • Hot Cross Buns were eaten on Good Friday – the cross symbolises the real cross of Christ
April: All Fool’s Day • The jesters, or the Lords of Misrule, took charge for the day and caused mayhem with jokes and jests • Celebration of everything ridiculous, the world is turned “upside-down” and the more drunk everyone gets the funnier the festivities are • Clothing is worn backwards and this celebration is meant to be as hilarious as possible • Instead of the King and Queen sitting at the head of the feast, the Jester sits there • Everything takes place backwards • Meant to be a small break from reality, to give people a break from order • At the same time it is a celebration to realize how ludicrous the world is without order and return to the world of rules and law willingly
May: May Day! • May Day celebrates the change of seasons, many rituals performed are to celebrate “Spring back into the world” • It has been celebrated for centuries as the return of fertility after the long winter and spring • The center of Mayday is the May pole • Games and contests would take place around the May pole • Doors, windows and banquet halls were decorated • In the Christian calendar it was known as Mary’s month and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary
June: Midsummer Eve • St John the Baptist was supposed to have been born on the eve of the Summer Solstice so this day is dedicated to him • On Midsummer’s Eve, special herbs are picked for their life giving qualities, bonfires are lit to protect against evil spirits who were believed to roam – they were made from bones that had been gathered (‘bonfire’ = fire of bones) • Later it was said that the bonfire smoke drove away dragons
July: Swithin’s Day St Swithin was the Bishop of Winchester and died in 862. He is commemorated on July 15 when, supposedly, if it rains it will continue to do so for forty days. On his death-bed he is said to have asked to be buried outdoors, outside Malmesbury Cathedral, where he could be trodden on and rained on. For nine years his wishes were heeded – then the Bishops attempted to move his body to a splendid shrine inside the Cathedral. Soon after there was a terrible thunderstorm which led to the myth of 40 days of rain. What do YOU think?