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Christmas Gambols

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  • dparishwhittaker
    Party ideas for all! ELIZABETHAN CHRISTMAS PASTIMES Just got my paws on the 1665 edition of Francis Willughby s Book of Games. He has the rules for a number of
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 23, 2003
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      Party ideas for all!

      ELIZABETHAN CHRISTMAS PASTIMES

      Just got my paws on the 1665 edition of Francis Willughby's Book of
      Games. He has the rules for a number of games that are referenced to
      the 16th century (thanks OED!). Among them are several
      Christmas/Twelfth night pastimes ("gambols"). .

      ROBIN ALIVE- A boy's game. One boy takes a stick and lights it on
      fire, then chants "Robin alive and live if like to be if it dies in
      your hand, you shall be saddled" while waving the stick. If it stays
      on fire, he hands it to another boy. If it goes out, he is
      blindfolded ("hoodwinked") and must kneel on all fours. Then another
      boy holds anything in the room over his head and asks the hoodwinked
      boy what it is. If he can't guess, the object is placed on his back
      and another brought for guessing. Once successfully guessed, the boy
      can remove his blindfold and starts the game anew.

      A FOOL WHO BOBBED THEE- A player has another cover his eyes with his
      fingers. Then yet another cuffs the first on the ear. The player
      then asks "Fool, who bobbed thee?". If the first can guess the
      second player then has to be the first (the cuffee).

      SHOOING THE WILD COLT- A far more mature game, a sturdy pole or
      plank is placed between two stools. A trencher is placed on each
      stool. A player sits on the plank with a stick just long enough to
      reach the trenchers. He then trys to knock the trenchers off without
      falling. This is called Shooing the Colt. Doing behind your back is
      called Girting, doing it under the plank is called Putting on the
      Crupper. Willughby seems to think this can be difficult, so this
      should be set up as precariously as possible. And of course, this
      being the 1590s, betting should ensue.


      MORE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS-

      Post a set of Rules and Laws up for all to read- those failing to
      doff their cap before reading must pay a forfeit (see below).

      Wassail should be made and drunk out of a brown, rustic (probably
      wooden) bowl before dinner. A Wassail song should be sung .

      A Boarshead will be brought in at dinner decked in rosemary. They
      probably sang the traditional "Boarshead Carol". I need to look into
      it's provenance.

      A Cake will be served with a bean and a pea baked in. Those who get
      a piece with a bean or pea become the King and Queen of Misrule, get
      a badge that marks them as such, and get to lord it over the rest of
      everyone for the evening's revelery. The Puritan Stubbes (1583)
      froths at the mouth about this folly, I'll see if I can drag up what
      he has to say about it so we can get some ideas (take that, Stubbes!)
      No doubt, he'd want us all branded on the forehead.

      FORFEITS- One of the great Elizabethan Christmas traditions was (you
      guessed it) gambling. Frequently, instead of money, the loser had to
      pay a forfeit. This was basically anything amusing and slightly
      humiliating the losers alleged friends could come up with. A typical
      one was HORSING, which involved the loser having to straddle a pole,
      which was carried about by two other men. They would then take him
      to the cellar, where they'd try to get the butler to give them a
      drink. Being the recipient of "A fool who bobbed thee" might be
      another good forfeit.
      --- End forwarded message ---
    • wodeford
      ... into ... A bunch of us went caroling Friday night. We d knock on a door singing something, finish up, then ask whoever answered the door if they had a
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 23, 2003
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        --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "dparishwhittaker"
        <davidparishwhittaker@h...> wrote:
        > A Boarshead will be brought in at dinner decked in rosemary. They
        > probably sang the traditional "Boarshead Carol". I need to look
        into
        > it's provenance.

        A bunch of us went caroling Friday night. We'd knock on a door
        singing something, finish up, then ask whoever answered the door if
        they had a particular favorite to request. One wise guy (not
        realizing who was caroling in his front yard) cried, "The Boar's Head
        Carol!" which we promptly broke into.

        There are at least two known versions. There's a 15th century one
        with a "Nowell" refrain that's melodically complex. There's a
        manuscript with lyrics from 1521 (no tune noted) that bears a great
        deal of similarity to the "traditional" version most know today.
        IIRC, my copy of the "Oxford Book of Carols" could not pin down the
        origin of that tune with any reliability, however, it doesn't sound
        Not-Period, if you know what I mean:

        http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/boars_head_c
        arol.htm

        For the 1521 lyrics attributed to Wynken de Worde, go to
        http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/bores_heed_i
        n_hand_bring_i-sandys.htm

        For the 15th century Boar's Head Carol attributed to composer Richard
        Smert (this one is absolutely gorgeous, but not particularly easy to
        sing, so of course, I want to try to learn it - maybe in time for
        next Christmas), go to:
        http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/borys_hede_t
        hat_we_bryng_here.htm

        Cheers,
        Jehanne de Wodeford
      • Kirrily Robert
        David, these are great! You should put these on the wiki! I made a [Christmas] node there just yesterday! Yours, Katherine -- Goodwife Katherine Rowberd (mka
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 23, 2003
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          David, these are great! You should put these on the wiki! I made a
          [Christmas] node there just yesterday!

          Yours,

          Katherine


          --
          Goodwife Katherine Rowberd (mka Kirrily "Skud" Robert)
          katherine@... http://elizabethangeek.com/
          Caldrithig, Skraeling Althing, Ealdormere
          "The rose is red, the leaves are grene, God save Elizabeth our Queene"
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