Reblogged from Medieval Wanderings:
In medieval times, life revolved around the church, and the year was marked out by a series of religious festivals, customs and holidays of which Christmas and Easter were the main events. But contrary to many a modern perception, people in the Middle Ages had more time off than we do today. And although there was a good deal of attending church and religious rituals and processions, these did bring the community together, and they also knew how to kick back and have fun.
The Easter period would start with Shrove Tuesday, a secular holiday involving boisterous games and sports. After this, the fun gave way to the fasting period of Lent, when churches were hung with veils and crosses shrouded. Little observed today, if anything we brace ourselves to give up chocolate or booze for the requisite 40 days, but they took it much more seriously in the Middle Ages. Several foods were forbidden, including meat and eggs, so the diet switched to fish. But 40 days of fish could turn into a long old slog, and some people got sick of it, as can be seen by a letter written by a 15th century schoolboy: “Thou wilt not believe how weary I am of fish, and how much I desire that flesh were come again, for I have ate none other than salt fish this Lent.” Poor lad.
Continue reading at Medieval Wanderings