Lions and Lilies Advent Calendar for 2017 – Merry Christmas!

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Competition Details (for Aussie Residents Only – Sorry!)

Would you like to win one of the four books in the series? Welcome to our Christmas competition. On the even dates (Dec 2, 4, 6, etc) there are two hidden figures in each picture – a little girl and a little boy (see separate picture for details). Like most women, ‘Cecile’ chooses to change her dress to match the picture. Gillet, on the other hand, is far less imaginative and has only two outfits and two poses.

All you have to do is find and describe where each figure is hidden for the twelve dates (a magic number – 12 apostles, 12 signs of the zodiac, Viking God Odin had 12 sons, King Arthur subdued 12 rebel princes and of course, Twelfth Night following the 12 days of Christmas) Send us these locations by Jan 7 via email (attach a doc if you like) to lionsandlilies@lionsandlilies.com

It may help to download the picture so you can zoom in but also we’ll let you know when an ‘obvious’ character is not the hidden figure. Have fun!

Sorry but due to the extremely high postal costs in Australia, this competition can only be open to Aussie residents.

Lions and Lilies

 

The hidden figures will look like one of these.

The various hidden figures

 

December 16  images-20

 

Dec 16

 

December 15  holly_ribbon1

Dec 21

 

December 14 holly

 

 

 Dec 14

December 13 garland

Dec 15

December 12 

December 11 

December 10 

December 9 

December 8 

December 7 

December 6 

December 5 

December 4 

December 3 

December 2 

December 1 

 

All 4 covers for small use

 

Lions and Lilies – by Catherine T Wilson and Catherine A Wilson

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Halloween is coming!

By Cathy T

Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve – the time the land is dying (summer is ending) and winter approaches … No! Don’t make me say it …. Oh, okay – Winter is coming!

Did you ever wonder how the change of seasons became known as All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween? It started as a feast to celebrate the end of summer or ‘Samhain’ to acknowledge the coming difficulties that winter would surely bring. Here then, is Lions and Lilies salute to Halloween…

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The orchards are spent and the leaves are falling. The wind whispers from the north and darkness approaches in the cycle of life and land. The earth hails the approaching winter whereupon it will sleep beneath a layer of snow until the season of rebirth. During this ‘dying of the land’ the sunlight diminishes and the veil between the ‘world of the living’ and the ‘world of the dead’ grows thinner with each night.

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In order to protect themselves against the coming winter and its devastations, villagers celebrate the feast of Samhain (summer’s end), the last harvest.

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In the Middle Ages people were well aware that their livelihood depended on the land. The Gaelic calendar recognised this with four main festivals, Imbolc (spring), Beltane (summer), Lughnasadh (harvest season also known as Lammas), and Samhain (the onset of winter). Cattle were brought down from the summer pastures for slaughter and great bonfires were lit for the rituals of cleansing and protection.

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It was also seen as a time when the spirits or fairies could enter the human world on All Hallows Eve – cross over to visit the living or perhaps, wreak havoc.

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The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes and feasts were held where the ancestors were beckoned to a place set at the table just for them.

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Eventually there arose the custom of the living dressing up in disguise so that they could not be distinguished from the dead and have their souls snatched prematurely.

As Christianity took over the pagan beliefs, Pope Gregory I issued an edict (601 AD) to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.

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In the 9th century, the Roman Catholic Church shifted the date of All Saints Day to November 1st, while November 2nd became All Souls Day (for the souls awaiting full sanctification and moral perfection in Purgatory so they may gain entrance into Heaven) in line with the Celtic tradition of Samhain. The Triduum of All Hallows being Samhain or All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day was known as Hallowmas but eventually became just Halloween (Oct 31).

The feasting was a typical medieval event, much food, drink, games and fraternising.

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One game played at Samhain called for a noble at the high table to be disguised as King Crispin. Dressed in magnificent robes, crowned and flourishing a sceptre, he wears a heavy chain around his neck. Attached is a large medallion with the design of one big boot. King Crispin, (really Saint Crispin) is the patron saint of Cordwainers – cobblers, tanners and leatherwork (Cordwain or Cordovan leather from Spain). Since Saint Crispin’s Day is only a few days beforehand (Oct 25th – also linked with the battle of Azincourt 1415) the two were often combined.

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Seven people who will be the ‘soulers’ have their masks ready (note the use of the Templar number seven).  At some point during the evening, the soulers will put on their masks and, carrying a small basket, set out to collect soul cakes. Walking briskly though the hall, the soulers will chant:

One for Peter, two for Paul

Three for Him who made us all.

If you haven’t got a cake, an apple will do,

If you haven’t got an apple, give a pear or two,

If you haven’t got a pear, then God bless you.

Soulers, still chanting, approach guests with much hilarity to collect gifts and everyone offers their soul cake, (a flat, oval cake with currants, cinnamon and nutmeg) or a piece of fruit. The soulers threaten punishment to those who do not contribute. One can imagine how, after several hours of ale-drinking, the evening would become! Eventually the seven baskets are set beneath the bonfire candelabrum for alms distribution.

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As this was the time of year for divination, another game played was ‘Apple Bobbing.’ Each apple bobbed for was given the name of a desired mate. If the bobber succeeded in biting the apple on the first try, then his/her love would thrive. If the apple was caught on the second try, love would exist only briefly. Success on the third chance meant hate and four tries or more meant no luck with that person; name another.

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The game dates back to when the Romans conquered Britain. bringing with them the apple tree, a representation of the goddess of fruit trees, Pomona. The combination of Pomona, a fertility goddess, and the Celts’ belief that the pentagram was a fertility symbol began the origins of bobbing for apples. When an apple is sliced in half, the seeds form a pentagram-like shape, and it is thought that the manifestation of such a symbol meant that the apple could be used to determine marriages during this time of year.

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Here then are some of the ancient customs from which our modern day Halloween celebration has sprung; the dressing up, bobbing for apples and asking for candies in a basket (in place of soul cakes).

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By Cathy T

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All 4 covers for small use

The Lily and the Lion – 1st Place Chanticleer Chatelaine Award – 2014

The Order of the Lily – 1st Place Chanticleer Chatelaine Award – 2015

The Gilded Crown – 1st Place Chanticleer Chaucer Award – 2016

The Traitor’s Noose – Entered into Chanticleer Chaucer Award – 2017

 

 

It’s getting closer!

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‘Get out of my way! Book Four is coming soon! I want to get it first! Get out of my way, you fool!’

You get out of my way! I want to be the first to read it!’

See below to find out what all the fuss is about …

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Christmas Crossword Puzzle – Medieval Mayhem

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Well, here we are at the end of 2016! As most of our readers know, we made writing the fourth book to our series a big priority this year and so had little time for other activities. However, we decided to dive into our basket of goodies to see what we could devise for Xmas.  And here it is – A medieval crossword puzzle with entry into a prize draw for all readers who solve it!

We shall post as this year’s advent calendar, six clues daily and then four on the last days, until you have them all by December 24th. Then send us a scanned copy of your completed crossword puzzle for entry into the draw. The winner will receive a copy of one of our books, or if you have the current three, then we’ll reserve for you, one of the new release copies of book four ‘The Traitor’s Noose.’

We wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and hope you have some fun with this puzzle!

Lions and Lilies would like to thank Cathy T who manually designed the crossword – that is to say, without using one of those ‘crossword puzzle makers!’

Send a scanned copy of the completed puzzle to lionsandlilies@lionsandlilies.com

Competition closes on January, Friday 13th, 2017 and winner will be drawn on Catherine and Cecile’s birthday – January 17th!

(Please note :- Due to high postal costs in Australia, a print copy will be drawn for Australian Residents only – An EBook copy will be presented via Amazon to an overseas winner)

Good luck everyone!

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DEC 1

ACROSS

1              Duke of Normandy (Born 1027 – Died 1087)  (7,3,9)

7              Plague (5,5)

14           Famous meadow where a charter was signed by 17 Across

DOWN

1              Name of the struggle between two houses for the English throne in 1455 – 1487 (3,2,3,5)

2              Castle in England that houses one of the four remaining copies of 99 Across

3              One of the herbs of St John, brought indoors only at the 12 days of Christmas

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DEC 2

ACROSS

15     Arch Bishop of Canterbury under Richard II and under Henry  IV

16      Tender

17      Youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine

DOWN

4         Author of the Canterbury Tales

5         Set of instructions laid down when entering a tournament

6         King of England (1189 – 1199) (7,3,9)

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DEC 3

ACROSS

19        Victuals

20       Before you could joust you had to be able to do this well                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           21        King of France 1380 – 1422, suffered bouts of madness

DOWN  

8          One of the royal houses involved in 1 Down

9          Danish King of England (1016) and first Norse ruler to be accepted as a Christian King

10        Usurped Richard II for the English throne. King of England until 1412 (5,2,11)

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DEC 4

ACROSS

22           Thomas Becket was murdered in this cathedral

24           Not a she

26           This series of battles was known as The  –   –   –  (7,5,3)

DOWN

11           A dealer in textile fabrics

12           Point on the body where 44 Across was struck by an arrow at 21 Down

13           Vikings who settled in France became known as (6, 8)

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DEC 5

ACROSS

27           Italian poet 1265 – 1321

31           A move made in fencing

32           A heraldic charge used by the vikings

DOWN

18           Nowadays part of Belgium, in the Middle Ages this city was the capital of Flanders

21           Famous English battle in 1066

23           The other royal house involved in 1 Down

 

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DEC 6

ACROSS

33           Wheel indentation in the roads

34           First King of England with this name ascended the English throne in  1272

35           The first born of a king

DOWN

25           Count of Blois, King of England (1135 – 1154)

28           Son of Charles VII of France, grandson to 21 Across. King of France 1461 – 1483                          (name + number)

29           French royal house that reigned from 1328 – 1589 replacing the Capetian line

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DEC 7

ACROSS

37          Viking who colonised Greenland

38          Mischievous demon in folklore

42          An impression in a piece of wax

DOWN

30          16th Earl of Warwick known as ‘The Kingmaker’. His daughters married 90 Down and 82 Across

36          Won the English throne at the Battle of Towton. (name + number)

39          Archers on horseback were known as this type of infantry

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DEC 8

ACROSS

44           Last Anglo Saxon King of England (1022 – 1066)

45           Birthplace of 87 Down was Domremy, a small village in the province of ——-

47           Farm animal

DOWN

40           To decompose

41           Daughter of 36 Down, married 106 Across in order to bring an end to 1 Down

42           Commoner

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DEC 9

ACROSS

48          What every fighter wants to do

49          A combination of this and strength made a formidable fighter

50          To house 47 Across

DOWN

43          Not ‘out’

46          Sad song

52          The two sons of 36 Down became known as this when 82 Across took them into custody

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DEC 10

ACROSS

51           Ammunition shot from bows (singular)

53           Luxury condiment used on the high table

57           Traditional name of Highland outlaw from Clan McGregor (1671 – 1734)

DOWN

54           Arable land sown with legumes or grass; pastureland

55           The King known as Longshanks

56           Region of France with Dijon as its capital. Sported many famous Dukes

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DEC 11

ACROSS

58          Oneself

60          Ointment

61          Religious ceremonial act

DOWN

59          Royal house of England that took the throne from 82 Across – surname of 106 Across

63          This building in Paris has been an arsenal, fortress, a royal residence, prison and museum

67          Cease

pinecone

DEC 12

ACROSS

62           Used widely in food preparation

63           Most battles were fought in order to possess more of this

64           To sharpen the blades of swords

DOWN

68           A circular band of metal

73           Lover of Queen Isabella of France, wife to Edward II (first name)

75           Type of bow

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DEC 13

ACROSS

65          An early Scottish/English rank between Earl and Freeman who holds lands for the king

66          Archaic form of do

69          Wife of Henry Plantagenet

DOWN

77          Victor of 96 Down (name and number)

79          Singular

82          A heraldic device

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DEC 14

ACROSS

70           118 Across is one of these

71           Archaic form of does

72           Plaid

DOWN

83           Gascon family name who supported 87 Down. It became the name of the political party opposing the English

84           King of France 1137 – 1180 and married Eleanor of Aquitaine (name + number)

85           Surname of one of Henry VIII’s wives

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DEC 15

ACROSS

74          Birthplace of brother to the Black Prince. Father to 10 Down

76          English version of French word ‘non’

78          Peasants are usually (and sometimes wrongly) depicted covered in this

DOWN

86          Nickname of 17 Across because he received no major feoff from his father

87          17-year-old warrior who led the French against the English

88          Resin

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DEC 16

ACROSS

80           The handle of a sword

81           Scottish version of ‘John’

82           Brother to 36 Down. Depicted by Shakespeare as a hunchback (Name + number)

DOWN

89           Royal house to ascend the English throne in 1154

90           Brother to 36 Down – George, Duke of ——– supposedly drowned in a vat of wine

93           King of Scotland 1406 – 1437 (name + number)

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DEC 17

ACROSS

83          Two letter word used to indicate proximity

88          Conjunction word used to join words and phrases

89          First name of two of Henry VIII’s wives

DOWN

94          87 Down was known as ‘The Maid of ——-‘

96          Decisive battle in France in 1415

101        Surname of 73 Down

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DEC 18

ACROSS

91           A tot of rum

92           Queen of England for a total of nine days in 1553 (4,4)

95           Alcoholic beverage from molasses

97           Cathedral which houses one of the remaining four copies of 99 Across

DOWN

107         The main body of a church

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DEC 19

ACROSS

98          The metal mounting or trimming of a scabbard

99          Name of the charter signed in 14 Across (5,5)

100        To consume completely

101        Freely split in battle

DOWN

109        Thrusting weapon

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DEC 20

ACROSS

102         A member of the Indo-European people – Irish, Gaelic, Welsh & Breton

103         Alcoholic beverage from grapes

104         Precious stone

105         An arrangement of order especially in battles

DOWN

110         Beheaded at the Tower of London on May 19, 1536 (surname)

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DEC 21

ACROSS

106         Usurper of 82 Across, triumphant at the Battle of Bosworth (name + number)

108         Nowadays displayed in 63 Down

111         An inhabitant of the area south of Guyenne (Acquitaine). Musketeer D’Artagnan was one. (So are the Albrets and Armagnacs in Lions and Lilies)

DOWN

112         Colour of one of the flowers in 1 Down

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DEC 22

ACROSS

115         Scottish pants

117         Skill in dealing with delicate situations

118         Port in Picardy on the French side of the Straits of Dover

119         Welsh boys name and name of grandfather to 106 Across

DOWN

114         Successful ammunition used at 96 Down

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DEC 23

ACROSS

120         You, me, all of —

123         Surname of one of Henry VIII’s wives

124         Scottish dance

125         A law that protects oneself against defamation

DOWN

116         Wears a kilt

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DEC 24

ACROSS

126         Small town in France where the English burned 87 Down at the stake

127         Crowned King of Scotland at Scone in 1306 (6,3,5)

128         Edward II suffered a humiliating defeat here by 127 Across in 1314

DOWN

121         A Viking drinking vessel

122         Bears the acorn

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Lions and Lilies hope you have enjoyed our Christmas Medieval Crossword. We wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Lions and Lilies Advent Calendar – 2015

We have had requests to repeat our advent calendar from 2013. As both authors are hard at work on book four this year, we gladly comply and will repost it for December.

Lions and Lilies wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Welcome to Lions and Lilies Advent Calendar – 2015

 Dec 1 - The Kissing Bush

DEC 1

The Kissing Bush

A Medieval Christmas did not have a Christmas tree. Instead they hung a large bunch of holly on a wooden frame from a slender chain in the hall. It was known as the kissing bush.

 Dec 1 - The kissing-bough

DEC 2

Nativity Box

In medieval England and Europe an early form of the Nativity scene developed which incorporated an ‘advent image’ or a ‘vessel cup’. It consisted of a box, often with a lid that was covered with a linen square and contained two dolls representing Mary and the baby Jesus. The box was decorated with ribbons and flowers (and sometimes apples) and it was thought to be very unlucky if you had not seen one before Christmas Eve.

 Dec 2 - Nativity Box

 

DEC 3

The Yule Log

The largest possible log the hearth could hold was cut from a tree and brought into the hall on Christmas Eve and lit. It was to be kept burning for the entire twelve days of Christmas so that its last embers still smoulder on Twelfth Night. A small section of the last piece would be carefully preserved to ignite the new Yule log in the following year.

Dec 3 - Yule Log

DEC 4

Deck the Halls

The medieval practice of decking churches and halls with greens for the season had its roots in ancient custom. The early Church had banned the use of evergreens because of their ties with pagan winter festivals, but by the Middle Ages, these plants had been given Christian interpretations and were brought in to brighten and decorate during the shorter dark and cold days of winter.

Dec 4 - Deck the Halls

 

 DEC 5

Letting in the Season

Before the ceremonies of the Christmas feast can begin, the festive joy must be invited into the hall. This is called ‘Letting-In the Season.’ Usually it is a ‘mummer,’ dressed in green and wearing bands of bells. Wassail! He dances his way in, inviting good fortune to fly in with him. He must be dark-haired too (for Judas was thought to have been a red-head!)

Dec 5 - Letting in the Season

 DEC 6

The Feast of Saint Nicholas the Bishop

December 6th is the feast of Saint Nicholas the Bishop who is remembered for secretly assisting and providing gifts for the poor. He became associated with Christmas with the idea of the wise men presenting gifts to the baby Jesus.

 Dec 6 - Saint Nicholas

DEC 7

Yule Candle

Before the Christmas food was served a ceremonial light would be lit. A gigantic candle was placed on the high table so that all in the hall could see and admire it. Specially crafted throughout the year and made from multiple layers of coloured wax, one for every month, taking twelve months to complete. The base was surrounded by holly. The candle was lit each night of the twelve day celebration and extinguished on Twelfth Night.

Dec 7 - The Yule Candle

 

DEC 8

Christmas Roast

A wide variety of what we might consider unusual fowl appeared on the medieval Christmas menu, such as swans and peacocks. The cook would strive to present the birds in artful ways by decorating the roasted carcass with the bird’s own feathers.

Dec 8 - Christmas Roast

DEC 9

The Yule Boar

Among the preparations for winter is the hunt and one of the favourites was the hunt for the Yuletide boar. Great praise was lavished upon the hunter who managed to snare the beast for the Christmas table, often the centrepiece complete with an apple or orange in its mouth. Carried out on a huge tray, it was delivered to the high table with much pomp and ceremony.

Dec 9 - The Yule Boar

DEC 10

Christmas Mead

No medieval Christmas was complete without a goblet of warm, spiced mead. Many families had their own recipes, passed from one generation to the next, but all contained the basic ingredient of honey with added variations of fruit and spices, warmed traditionally by having a hot poker plunged into the jug.

Dec 10 - Christmas Mead

DEC 11

Mumming

A mummer was an amateur actor who performed in village plays at harvest time and special feasts. Often they performed in masks to hide their identity, a pagan tradition in which they were enticing back the sun to end the long winter but if their identity was revealed, the magic would fail. In medieval times, mummers were hired to entertain with religious plays at Yuletide. Using a wagon as a stage, they could move from village to village, performing.

Dec 22 - We wish you a Merry Christmas

 DEC 12

Mince Pies

Mince Pies were so called because they contained shredded or minced meat and were baked in oblong shaped pans or casings, to represent Jesus’ crib. The pies were not considered authentic unless the contained three particular spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) – the three gifts presented to the Christ child by the Magi, the three wise men from the East.

Dec 12 - Mince Pies - Copy

DEC 13

Multi-bird Roast

In addition to serving whole birds in plumage, another creative dish was the multi-roast.

Some historians claim that these roasts emerged during the middle ages, while others believe they can be traced back to ancient times. At Christmastide, a twelve-bird roast would have included such birds as a woodcock, partridge, pigeon, pheasant, quail, guinea fowl, mallard, aylesbury duck, chicken, duck, and a goose, all within a swan, one bird for each month. The birds would be carefully boned out and folded, one within the other, the smaller birds side-by-side. One multi-roast could feed up to 130 people. But such creations were not limited to just birds. A medieval recipe book Le Viandier de Tailleven (origins late 13thC, early 14thC) gave us the ‘Helmeted Cock’ in which the capon rides a pig and is outfitted in the coat of arms of the honoured Lord. And in Greenland 400 auks (a type of seabird) were stuffed inside a seal!

Dec 13 - Multi Roasts

DEC 14

 Advent
From the thirteenth century, the four week period leading up to Christmas was celebrated as Advent. It was also considered to be the start of the church year.

The fourth century saw the introduction of the holidays of All Saints and All Souls, followed on November 11th by the feast of Saint Martin or Martinmas. The next four weeks were then a time of preparation, penance and fasting similar to those of lent.

Dec 14 - Advent

DEC 15

 Yule Dolls

Yule dolls were gingerbread figures made with honey, nutmeg, saffron, lemon and currants. Eyes and nose are raisins and the smiling mouth is a curl of orange peel. The first piece could be offered to a favourite animal incorporating the ancient custom of giving gifts of food to the animals so they will be healthy for spring. They were served only during the twelve days of Christmas and thought to be best eaten with a tankard of perry!

Dec 15 - Yule Dolls

 DEC 16

Wassail

Wassail (Old English wæs hæl,) is a medieval toast or salute which literally means ‘be you healthy.’ It originates both from the salute ‘Waes Hail’ and the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider traditionally drunk at Christmas.     ‘Wassailing’ was an ancient southern English custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good apple harvest for the coming year. Wassailing also has its origins in Yulesinging or Caroling and during the medieval period the wassail was a reciprocal exchange between the feudal lords and their peasants as a form of recipient-initiated charitable giving, to be distinguished from begging, whereby the singers would receive food and drink in return for a blessing, delivered in the form of a song or carol.

Dec 16 - Wassaill

DEC 17

Frumenty

Frumenty is a sweet simple dish made of cracked wheat (hence its name which derives from the Latin word frumentum meaning ‘grain’), boiled milk, egg yolks, honey, fruit and spices and was considered a real treat. The mixture was left to cool and eaten with a spoon. One of the oldest documented recipes for frumenty survives in a 1390 manuscript The Forme of Cury written by a master cook from the court of Richard II (Black Prince’s son, 1377-1390). It is one of the oldest cookery manuscripts in the English language. The preamble to the manuscript explains that the The Forme of Cury contains recipes for ‘common pottages and common meats for the household, as they should be made, craftily and wholesomely,’ as well as food designed to impress at royal banquets. Frumenty falls into both categories and there’s a basic recipe for cooking the dish with broth but there’s also frumenty with porpoise, a dish fit for kings!

Dec 17 - Frumenty

DEC 18

Christmas Pudding
Christmas puddings in Medieval England may have had the same shape and dark rich colour that we see today, but they certainly would not have tasted very similar. The medieval pudding was made with a spicy kind of porridge, or frumenty. Once the wheat had been boiled, currants and dried fruit were stirred in. The yolks of eggs were also added and, if available, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The mixture was left to cool and set before being served.

Dec 18 - Christmas Pudding

DEC 19

 Umble Pie

In the 14th century, the numbles (or noumbles, nomblys, noubles) was the name given to the heart, liver, entrails etc. of animals, especially of deer – what we now call offal or lights. The word numbles became ‘umble’ and it is often used to refer to the pie of lesser value than the pie with the rich meat. Therefore, the poor would often eat ‘umble’ pie. Nowadays, if you have taken a tumble in life and have to live a standard of life you would not usually be used to, it is said that you are having to eat ‘humble pie.’

Dec 19 - Umble pie

DEC 20

 Nativity Play
Saint Francis of Assisi performed Midnight Mass in Greccio on Christmas Eve 1223 in front of a life-size nativity scene (crib or creche) built by Giovanni Velita, with live animals. This is often credited as the first nativity play. Medieval society loved entertainment and in particular plays. Christmas offered ample opportunity for everyone to become involved in the presentations, which were performed both in open public spaces and within larger private homes, with the Nativity Play being a particular favourite.

Dec 20 - Nativity Play

DEC 21

 Frankincense and Myrrh

Drawn from the tale of Christ’s birth, frankincense and myrrh were prominently displayed in the homes of wealthy people during the Middle Ages. The two precious tree resins were presented to the baby Jesus at his birth and were later often placed in or near nativity scenes. Housed in elaborately carved trunks, the resins were also burnt as incense and thrown into the fireplace to perfume the smoke. Today, frankincense and myrrh are readily available at import stores and are an effective way of lending atmosphere to homes decorated in the medieval style.

Dec 21 - Frankinsence and Myrrh

DEC 22

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Carolling, or traveling to different homes to offer or sing Christmas cheer evolved, as we know, from the tradition of ‘Wassailing’. No one is quite sure when the custom started, but it did give us the song, ‘Here We Come-A-Wassailing’ — sung as carollers wished good cheer to their neighbors in the hope of getting a gift in return. The song gradually became the popular ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ — its last verse, ‘Bring us some figgy pudding’ stems from the wassailers’ original intent of requesting food in return for a blessing.

Dec 11 - Mumming

DEC 23

 The Shepherds’ Play

The Shepherds’ Play (also known as The Second Shepherds’ Play/pageant) is a famous medieval mystery play. It acts as a prelude to the nativity play where it becomes clear that Christ is coming to Earth to redeem the world from its sins. Although the underlying tone of The Shepherd’s Play is serious, many of the antics that occur among the shepherds are extremely farcical in nature. The biblical portion of the play, a retelling of the Visitation of the Shepherds, comes only after a longer, invented story that mirrors it, in which the shepherds, before visiting the holy baby outside in a manger, must first rescue one of their sheep that has been hidden in a cradle indoors by a comically evil sheep-stealing couple. Once they have discovered and punished the thieves, the storyline switches to the familiar one of the three shepherds being told of the birth of Christ. Although nothing is known about the author, or the origins of the play, it is agreed by several scholars that it dates sometime between 1400-1450.

Dec 23 - Shepherds Play

DEC 24

 12 Day of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day (25 December) – which was also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth Day of Christmas is always on Epiphany Eve (5 January), but the Twelfth Night can either precede or follow the Twelfth Day according to which Christian tradition is followed;

Day 1 – 25 December: Christmas Day.
Day 2 – 26 December: St. Stephen’s Day. This day is mentioned in the carol ‘Good King Wenceslas.’
Day 3 – 27 December: Feast of Saint John the Evangelist and Apostle.
Day 4 – 28 December: The Feast of the Holy Innocents, the young male children ordered murdered in Bethlehem by King Herod, according to the Gospel of Matthew. The traditional Christmas song “The Coventry Carol” describes this event.
Day 5 – 29 December: The feast day of Saint Thomas Becket.
Day 6 – 30 December: The feast of the Holy Family.
Day 7 – 31 December: The feast of Saint Sylvester. In Scotland this day is known as Hogmanay.
Day 8 – 1 January: The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Before the Second Vatican Council, it was also observed as the Feast of the Holy Circumcision of Jesus.
Day 9 – 2 January: Octave day of St. Stephen or the feast day of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen. In England, the Lichfield Martyrs are also celebrated on this day.
Day 10 – 3 January: Feast of Saint Genevieve or the most holy name of Jesus.
Day 11 – 4 January: The octave day of the feast of the Holy Innocents or the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint. In medieval times this was The Feast of Saint Simon Stylites.
Day 12 – 5 January: In the UK this was the Feast of St. Edward the Confessor, King of England. The rest of Europe feasted St. Julian the Hospitaller on this day. The evening of the 5 January is also Twelfth Night.

Dec 24 - Twelve Days of Christmas 

 

Lions and Lilies

wish all their readers a very Merry Christmas

A safe and prosperous New Year

Carols

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