Friday, 30 November 2012

School Plays, Pantomimes and Mystery Plays

It's that time of the year again when innumerable excited children rehearse for the Christmas Play and look forward to attending a pantomime or some other performance. In times past equally excited children must have looked forward to mystery plays originally performed throughout the year in churchyards. However, in the dark cold winter the story of the Christ Child's advent must have been a colourful highlight of the year. Later, awestruck children must have watched among other things the shepherds and three wise men visiting the new born babe on a pageant, a wagon with two stages and special scenery. Whether the mummers performed at mansions, inns or in the streets the audience needed their strength for some plays began at 4.30 a.m. and did not finish until dusk.

Christmas Past and Present

My seven year old grandson's main Christmas present will be a toy castle. I went to Toys R Us today and found toy mounted knights and a dragon reduced in price from £8 to £4 each, so I bought half a dozen for for him.

The toy knights seated on their destriers and equipped with weapon evoked images of mediaeval Christmas celebrations.

Modern Christmas festivities did not originate in the Victoria...n era. Many preparations were made to celebrate the period which, due to numerous saints' days lasted longer than it does today. The dates of the pagan festivals became Christian dates, and to remember the birth of the Christ Child Christmas people celebrated. In those days most of them would have gone to Church, exchanged presents, and enjoyed special food and drink as well as making music. In days when when people relied on candlelight Christmas must have been eagerly anticipated in the cold, dark winter, and as they do today children probably hoped for snow.