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Consequences: The Royal Family and a Very British Christmas

Turquoise Blue

Acutely Tibby
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@Thande: This is an exceptional article and has made me think more about my timeline's England's Christmas.

Maybe I'll look into medieval French customs that could end up influencing that world's England's Christmas, as that England was ruled by Kings of France for two hundred years or so.

Certainly, it has given me a good idea on what to do as a "Christmas project", so thank you!
 

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
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Delightful article @Thande. I've learned a lot. And now I get to regret the loss of the English Christmas ale.
 

Thande

Directly Elected Mayor of the Western Hemisphere
Published by SLP
Delightful article @Thande. I've learned a lot. And now I get to regret the loss of the English Christmas ale.
Yeah, much as I love a Dickensian Christmas it is sad to see some of those raucous pre-Jacobean traditions gone when you read about them.

Plenty left to talk about if I do another of these next year - crackers, Advent calendars, christingles...

@Thande: This is an exceptional article and has made me think more about my timeline's England's Christmas.

Maybe I'll look into medieval French customs that could end up influencing that world's England's Christmas, as that England was ruled by Kings of France for two hundred years or so.

Certainly, it has given me a good idea on what to do as a "Christmas project", so thank you!
Thanks TB.

My dad has also asked me to do a Christmas morning bit at church based on it...I've waited till now for Andy to find the pictures so making the Powerpoint is easier :p
 

Nanwe

The Local EUBoo
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Loved the article. I have to say I can see many parallels with traditions i've noticed across Europe. Here in Spain too, Christmas ends on the Epiphany (well, the 7th so that kids can play with their presents) which is when kids get and open their presents from the Three Wise Men (and the 5th all cities have parades).

We also have something similar to what you call a 'Twelfth Cake' (a roscón de reyes in Spanish), which is a round cake, similar to a Galette des Rois in France. Inside of it there is both a little ceramic figure and a bean. If you get the figure, that's good luck and if you find the bean, you pay for the cake.

We don't do (traditionally, we do now) Christmas trees, but nativity scenes.

Since you mention different Christmas traditions, another one is on December 28th. That is the day of the Innocent Saints. It is the Spanish version of April's Fools, the day when Spaniards prank one another and then say 'inocente, inocente' to the pranked person. It is a commemoration, or so it goes, of Herod's massacre of the innocents.

I can also think of a Lord of Misrule-equivalent in the southern Netherlands but on Carnival, not Christmas. During Carnival, each city will have a Prince of the Carnival, usually a randomly-elected person (although in practice, someone belonging to the Carnival brotherhoods).

At the beginning of Carnival week, the city's mayor hands the city keys (and theoretically the power) to the Prince of Carnival for the week. In theory, during that week, the Prince of Carnival is the city's mayor.
 

Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
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Derbyshire
Christmas ale sort of seems to be making a come back, but mostly in the form of mulled cider or craft ales with a bit of a 'Christmasy' flavour to them.
 

Nanwe

The Local EUBoo
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Christmas ale sort of seems to be making a come back, but mostly in the form of mulled cider or craft ales with a bit of a 'Christmasy' flavour to them.
Interesting. I discovered Christmas beers are a thing in both Denmark and Belgium, so that's something that has also persisted elsewhere.
 

Thande

Directly Elected Mayor of the Western Hemisphere
Published by SLP
Loved the article. I have to say I can see many parallels with traditions i've noticed across Europe. Here in Spain too, Christmas ends on the Epiphany (well, the 7th so that kids can play with their presents) which is when kids get and open their presents from the Three Wise Men (and the 5th all cities have parades).

We also have something similar to what you call a 'Twelfth Cake' (a roscón de reyes in Spanish), which is a round cake, similar to a Galette des Rois in France. Inside of it there is both a little ceramic figure and a bean. If you get the figure, that's good luck and if you find the bean, you pay for the cake.

We don't do (traditionally, we do now) Christmas trees, but nativity scenes.

Since you mention different Christmas traditions, another one is on December 28th. That is the day of the Innocent Saints. It is the Spanish version of April's Fools, the day when Spaniards prank one another and then say 'inocente, inocente' to the pranked person. It is a commemoration, or so it goes, of Herod's massacre of the innocents.

I can also think of a Lord of Misrule-equivalent in the southern Netherlands but on Carnival, not Christmas. During Carnival, each city will have a Prince of the Carnival, usually a randomly-elected person (although in practice, someone belonging to the Carnival brotherhoods).

At the beginning of Carnival week, the city's mayor hands the city keys (and theoretically the power) to the Prince of Carnival for the week. In theory, during that week, the Prince of Carnival is the city's mayor.
That's very interesting.

It did strike me on writing this that a lot of the Christmas traditions from Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands etc. we periodically hear about and now consider to be "odd foreign things" are actually just a case of - as you say - survivals of a common heritage that just got wiped out in England by the Civil War and Commonwealth. Not dissimilar to the discussions I've had with @Ares96 about how Midsummer is still big in Scandinavia but died out in England - which, again, is something that Shakespeare built a play around in his time.

One thing I think I didn't mention was that Ben Jonson's "Christmas, His Masque" was written because James VI and I was concerned about old rural Christmas traditions dying out with urbanisation - nothing really changes, does it! It also puts me in mind of his descendant Prince Charles' campaigning to save rural traditions today. Time is a flat circle and all that.

I remember Terry Pratchett alludes to the parallel between Carnival / Mardi Gras and Twelfth Night (the King of the Bean) in "Witches Abroad" - all sharing the same theme of the social order being upended for a time.
 

OwenM

The patronising flippancy of youth
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I remember Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series' (or at least the first book of the Collegium Chronicles subseries) has Valdemar's Midwinter celebrations be what I recognised as basically a combination of Elizabethan Christmas Day and Twelfth Night celebrations into one day and night (although both a bit more child-centred in other ways and a multi-religious thing for other worldbuilding reasons).
 

Francisco Cojuanco

Sometime traitor to his class
Location
Arizona
Quibble, the legend about St. Nicholas states he was meeely imprisoned, not defrocked, and was IIRC released miraculously by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Also, my theory for the red bit is that St. Nicholas may have been depicted wearing the clerical vestments for the season of the year, which in the Christian East is red (in the west, the approproate color for Advent/Philip's Fast is purple, but St. Nicholas was from Myra.)
 
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