Medieval Entertainment was extremely
important to people who lived in the Medieval era. Medieval entertainment
was popular whenever there was something to celebrate! A betrothal,
wedding, victories and festivals. Court entertainment was regular, often a
nightly occurrence combined with feasts, jousts and banquets. But the poor
people enjoyed entertainment from travelling minstrels and troubadours,
tournaments, dancing and trained animals, mummers (dancers), mystery
plays, jugglers and strolling players.
Types of Medieval Entertainment
Types of Medieval Entertainment and
were as follows:
Feasts - A large,
elaborately prepared meal, usually for many persons and often
accompanied by court entertainment.
Often celebrated religious festivals
Banquets - A ceremonial
dinner honoring a particular guest
Jousts / Tournaments - A
series of tilting matches between knights
- Re-enacting stories from the Bible
Festivals - Celebrating the
lives of Saints
The Annual Summer Fair was often a bawdy affair
Games and Sports - Sports
and games which included archery, bowling, dice, hammer-throwing,
quarter-staff contests, quoits, skittles and wrestling
Animal Sports - Including
Bear and Bull baiting. Dog and Cock fighting
Hunting - Sport
followed by the nobility often using dogs
Hawking - Sport followed by
the nobility with hawks
The Names and Types of Medieval
Entertainment were as follows:
Jesters - A fool or buffoon
at medieval courts
- A masked or costumed merrymaker or dancer especially at a festival
Minstrels - Travelling
musician who sang of legends
Troubadours - Travelling
musician who sang of courtly love
Strolling Players -
- Also used tricks, deception, or fraud
Medieval Entertainment - Religious Feasts, Fairs
Medieval people loved entertainment!
The more entertainment the better! Feasts Fairs and Festivals were all
common occurrences and were celebrated during specific times of the year
most of which were dictated by the Church and religious festivals.
A calendar of Medieval entertainment in terms of religious feasts, fairs and
festivals is detailed as follows:
Entertainment - Twelfth Night Religious festival and feasts celebrating
the visit of the Wise Men, or Magi, following the birth of Jesus
Medieval Entertainment - St Valentine's Day! The Medieval festival
celebrating love - singing, dancing and pairing games
Medieval Entertainment - Easter celebrated by the Mystery plays
depicting the crucifixion
( Good Friday) and the resurrection ( Easter Monday )
April Medieval Entertainment
- All Fool's Day. The Jesters, or Lords of Misrule, took charge for the
day and caused mayhem with jokes and jests!
Medieval Entertainment - Summer festival celebrating May Day when a
Queen of the May was chosen and villagers danced around the maypole
Medieval Entertainment - 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 Medieval Entertainment
- 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
Medieval Entertainment - 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. Candle lit processions
and apple-bobbing was featured!
Medieval Entertainment - 29th September was when Michaelmas celebrated
the life of St Michael and the traditional food on Michaelmas was goose
Medieval Entertainment - October 25th celebrating St Crispin's Day.
Revels and bonfires and people acted as 'King Crispin'
Entertainment - The Day of the Dead - All Souls Day or All Hallow's Day
( Halloween ) when revels were held and bonfires were lit
Medieval Entertainment - The feasts and Christmas
The Feasts, Fairs and
Festivals were all held at the same time of year giving Medieval people
something to look forward to in their everyday Medieval lives.
Medieval dance music dates from the
12th and 13th centuries. The carole was the most popular dance-song which
could be danced in a circle, in a chain, or as a processional. Our modern
Christmas Carols are derived from this practice. Names of famous Medieval
dances enjoyed in Medieval entertainment include the following:
So This section regarding Medieval
entertainment provides a full over view with facts and information about
of Medieval Merry making!