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Medieval Entertainment

Medieval life and Times

Medieval Entertainment

What did people do in Medieval Times for entertainment? Types of Medieval Entertainment varied according to status but included feasts, banquets, jousts and tournaments, Mystery Plays, fairs, games and sports, hunting, hawking, animal entertainment using dogs, bears and monkeys.

Medieval Entertainment - Holidays and Festivals
The monotony of Medieval daily life was alleviated by the various types of entertainment, festivals and holidays. The Medieval people shared a common life in the work of the fields, in the sports of the village green, and in the services of the parish church. They enjoyed many Medieval holidays; it has been estimated that, besides Sundays, about eight weeks in every year were free from work. Festivities at Christmas, Easter, and May Day, at the end of ploughing and the completion of harvest, relieved the monotony of the daily round of labor.

Medieval Entertainment - The Entertainers
Who were the people who provided the entertainment during the Medieval times? The Medieval entertainers of the Middle Ages  included
Jesters(A fool or buffoon at medieval courts), Mummers (Masked or costumed merrymaker or dancers at festivals), Minstrels and Troubadours, acrobats and jugglers and conjurers.

Troubadours
Medieval Minstrels

Games and Medieval Entertainment
Medieval Games and Medieval Entertainment were popular in all walks of society. Games were played by the Upper classes and the Lower classes. By adults and children. Different types of Games and Medieval entertainment fell into a number of different categories including Card Games, Board Games, Dice Games, Sporting Games and Children's games. The following board games were played and enjoyed as entertainment during the Medieval times:

  • Chess
  • The Philosophers Game - a game of strategy and numbers
  • Shovelboard - the ancestor of shuffleboard
  • Knucklebones - Early game of dice
  • Tables - Backgammon
  • Nine Men's Morris
  • Alquerques - A classic period strategy game, an ancestor of Checkers
  • Fox & Geese - a game of strategy
  • Hazard - an ancestor of Craps

Outdoor Medieval Entertainment
Outdoor Medieval Entertainment centred around the Village Green and at local fairs and included a variety of Medieval Sports:

  • Archery - Archery contests were especially popular
  • Bowls
  • Colf - the ancestor of Golf
  • Gameball - a simple football game
  • Hammer-throwing
  • Hurling or Shinty - a similar game to hockey
  • Horseshoes - throwing horseshoes at a target
  • Quarter-staff contests
  • Skittles - an ancestor of modern ten-pin bowling
  • Stoolball - an ancestor of Cricket
  • Wrestling

Outdoor entertainment also included the practises of certain festivals including May Day when people danced around a maypole and choose a Queen of the May. Religious plays were re-enacted by the Mummers.

Entertainment for Rich People in Medieval Times
Entertainment for rich people centred around the spectacles of jousting and feasts or banquets. the Medieval times was becoming more refined and elegant and the concept of courtly love was introduced and displayed at both tournaments and jousts. The sumptuous feasts and banquets also provided entertainment for rich people during the Medieval times and era. During the feast musicians would play and provide musical entertainment. After feasting entertainment might be provided by minstrels, troubadours, jesters, acrobats, fire-eaters and conjurers. The dance was also important as part of 'courtly love' entertainment. Knights were expected not only to fight but also to dance.

Medieval Banquets
Medieval Jousting Tournaments
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Medieval Life

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