Christmas was a special time for people from all walks of life in the medieval world. It was an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for a good year, hopefully a good harvest, perhaps a new addition to the family or a new king on the throne. A time to find ways to lift the human spirit above the routine of daily existence.
In the medieval world, no less than in our world of 2021, there were some extremely difficult times. There was the Great Famine of 1315-1317 followed a few years later by the Black Death pandemic which swept across Europe, Asia and Africa from 1346 to 1353. The impact of those difficult times changed the world forever.
So, when people celebrate Christmas this year, although they might feel that their perspective is different from how it used to be, they should not feel alone. Instead, perhaps we should remember that so many of our ancestors faced difficult and challenging times. Yet, those times passed and a new and better world emerged.
How To Lift The Spirits At Christmas
For most people today the most enjoyable way to enjoy Christmas is to spend time with family and friends. Sharing in good food and good music are usually top of the list in things that help lift the spirits.
A traditional Christmas dinner is the choice for most people but if you want something a little different, you could try a medieval recipe. By all means have your favourite main course but you could try a medieval dessert recipe!
Spiced pears in red wine is a tasty winter dessert which has medieval origins. Recipe here
Medieval-style ice cream – this is one of my own recipes using ingredients that were available in medieval England. Recipe here.
A traditional Christmas carol always lifts the spirits at Christmas time. Christmas carols were indeed sung in medieval times but many of them are unknown to people today. Traditions and tastes in music have changed immeasurably over the centuries. Even so, most of the Christmas carols sung in the 21st century go back quite a long way and have some fascinating stories behind them. One of the most famous of course is Silent Night. If you don’t know the story, it’s well worth reading.
Once you have done enough singing and just want to relax, then listening to some good instrumental music can be a great way to lift the spirits. Here is a gem of an album just released packed full of melody and emotion. A piece of music like no other – a Guitar Symphony ! You can listen to some extracts from the CD below …