Tudor Christmas – Traditions

On the 6th December, Tudor people would often celebrate the Boy Bishop. The Church allowed a choirboy, elected by his peers, to be a Bishop during the period starting with St. Nicholas Day (6th December) until Holy Innocents Day (28th December). Within the period the chosen boy, symbolising the lowliest authority, would dress in full Bishop’s regalia and conduct the Church services. Many of the great cathedrals adopted this custom including York, Winchester, Salisbury, Canterbury and Westminster. Henry VIII abolished Boy Bishops, however a few churches continue the practice today.

On Twelfth Night the Tudors ate Twelfth cake. This was a fruitcake in which a hidden object like a coin or dried bean was hidden. If you were lucky enough to find the item in your cake you became the King or Queen for the evening and host or hostess for the night’s entertainments.

There was also the Lord of Misrule, which was a popular part of Tudor Christmas traditions. It involved a commoner playing the ‘Lord of Misrule’ and supervising entertainments, drinking and revelry, and, in general, causing chaos. Henry VII loved the tradition and had a Lord of Misrule and an Abbot of Unreason, and it seems that his son, Henry VIII, enjoyed the tradition too. Henry not only appointed a Lord of Misrule for his own court, but also for Princess Mary’s household in 1525. During Edward VI’s reign, the duke of Northumberland is known to have spent a huge amount of money on the tradition. Although their father and half-brother had been keen on this tradition, Mary I and Elizabeth were not so. Mary did not celebrate it and Elizabeth discouraged it because of her disliking of the public disorder that it caused.

Sources

Tudor Christmas – The Anne Boleyn Files

Tudor Christmas and New Year Celebrations – On the Tudor Trail

A Tudor Christmas – Historic UK

385314_full_532x719

The Lord of Misrule

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Tudor Christmas and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s