YE OLDE CHRISTMAS EVENTS
Find out about the legends and traditions of Christmas (Included in entry price)
Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December
Saturday 7th December and Sunday 8th December
Saturday 14th December and Sunday 15th December
Show times: 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm, 4:00pm
Afterwards, pop back to us for a spooky ghost tours to finish off your exciting day in Stratford upon Avon! Ghost tours take place every evening.
The Stratford upon Avon Christmas lights will be switched on at 4.30pm on Thursday 21st November. Meet at the Town Hall in Sheep Street. Father Christmas will be putting in an appearance and afterwards will meet and greet children in his grotto in the Town Hall and present them with a token gift.
CHRISTMAS GHOST TOUR
Tuesday 24th December 2013
A Christmas Eve Ghost
Tour by lantern light, preceded by a warming glass of mulled wine and mince pies to warm the spirits!
NEW YEAR'S EVE GHOST TOUR
Tuesday, 31st December 2013
A spooky New Year's Eve Ghost Tour by lantern light, preceded by a sparkling glass of buck's fizz!
To book ring 01789-298070.
For full press release click here
A Tudor Christmas
Christmas was celebrated throughout Europe anywhere between early January through to late September. Pope Julius I decided to adopt 25th December as the actual date of the Nativity thereby using existing feast days and celebrations and attributed to the birth of Christ rather than any ancient pagan ritual.
One such festival involved the Feast of Fools, presided over by the Lord of Misrule. The feast was an unruly event, involving much drinking, revelry and role reversal. The Lord of Misrule, normally a commoner with a reputation of knowing how to enjoy himself, was selected to direct the entertainment. The festival is thought to have originated from the benevolent Roman masters who allowed their servants to be the boss for a while.
The burning of the Yule Log is thought to derive from the midwinter ritual of the early Viking invaders, who built enormous bonfires to celebrate their festival of light. The word 'Yule' has existed in the English language for many centuries as an alternative term for Christmas.
Traditionally, a large log would be selected in the forest on Christmas Eve, decorated with ribbons, dragged home and laid upon the hearth. After lighting it was kept burning throughout the twelve days of Christmas. It was considered lucky to keep some of the charred remains to kindle the log of the following year.
Carols flourished throughout Tudor times as a way to celebrate Christmas and to spread the story of the nativity. Celebrations came to an abrupt end however in the seventeenth century when the Puritans banned all festivities including Christmas. Surprisingly carols remained virtually extinct until the Victorians reinstated the concept of an 'Olde English Christmas' which included traditional gems such as While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night and The Holly and the Ivy as well as introducing a plethora of new hits - Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem - to mention but a few.
The twelve days of Christmas would have been a most welcome break for the workers on the land, which in Tudor times would have been the majority of the people. All work, except for looking after the animals, would stop, restarting again on Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night.
The 'Twelfths' had strict rules, one of which banned spinning, the prime occupation for women. Flowers were ceremonially placed upon and around the wheels to prevent their use.
During the Twelve Days, people would visit their neighbours sharing and enjoying the traditional 'minced pye'. The pyes would have included thirteen ingredients, representing Christ and his apostles, typically dried fruits, spices and of course a little chopped mutton - in remembrance of the shepherds.
feasting would have been the reserve of Royalty and the Gentry. Turkey was
first introduced into Britain in about 1523 with Henry VIII being one of the
first people to eat it as part of the Christmas feast.
Tinsel was made out of real silver with machines that pressed the silver into thin strips. Silver was durable, but it tarnished easily and later versions were also made out of pewter, a tin alloy.
A Tudor Christmas Pie consisted of a Turkey stuffed with a goose stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a partridge stuffed with a pigeon. All of this was put in a pastry case, called a coffin and was served surrounded by jointed hare, small game birds and wild fowl.
And to wash it all down, a drink from the Wassail bowl. The word 'Wassail' derives from the Anglo-Saxon 'Waes-hael', meaning 'be whole' or 'be of good health'. The bowl, a large wooden container holding as much as a gallon of punch made of hot-ale, sugar, spices and apples. This punch to be shared with friends and neighbours. A crust of bread was placed at the bottom of the Wassail bowl and offered to the most important person in the room - hence today's toast as part of any drinking ceremony.
These events are based at this ancient building, which is famously haunted throughout the world and has appeared on numerous paranormal shows (including Most Haunted and the Unexplained Channel) and does not include any other establishment, unless stated.
@ The Falstaff Experience 2007