There are many traditions evident in modern-day Christmas celebrations that have their roots in the renaissance period. Go through the following lines and learn all about renaissance Christmas celebrations.
The festivities and celebrations during the renaissance age were quite distinctive from the modern day traditions of Christmas celebration. Since ancient times, the celebration of winter season has evolved as a fusion of pagan, Jewish and many other traditions which is also evident in Christmas celebrations. The Norse celebration of Yule, the Continental Celts' celebration of the Winter Solstice and the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah and, finally, the Christian Christmas, they all seem connected through a common thread, which is manifest in the many common traditions. Perhaps, as Italians celebrated Mithric around December 25th, Constantine may have decreed this date as the date of birth of Christ. However, through many ages, the mode of celebrations and traditions has undergone many changes. Where many new traditions started taking root, there were some which were shunned and thus, vanished with changing times. To know the form of renaissance Christmas, go through the following section.
Renaissance Christmas Celebrations
- During the renaissance period, the festival used to last from December, through to Epiphany on the 6th of January. The festival was temperate, in revelries and merrymaking, as compared to what followed in the later ages. As the church was going through a time of turmoil, indecision and conflict on whether to accept the Catholic or the Protestant view, open celebration of Christmas, during this era, could get one into very serious trouble. But the noble and powerful could hardly stay apart from the festivities. It is said that the Florentine leaders, the Medici, were active participants of the celebrations-they even, sometimes, participated in the Mystery Plays, as the Magi themselves.
- The English word "Yuletide" actually means the twelve-day period between December 25 and January 6. During the renaissance period, it was common practice among many communities to set-up large bonfires in village centers. On Christmas Eve, all the families used to burn a ceremonial Yule log and commence the hearth fire, around which all the family members and the guests would gather and make merry throughout the rest of the Christmas festival days.
- In Twelfth Night celebrations and festivities during the renaissance age, gifts were given to commemorate the Magi's gifts to baby Christ. However, the most extravagant gift-giving could be witnessed in the royal courts of the age. For those seeking favor of the monarchs, Christmas holiday was the best period.
- The manger scenes, or the Nativity Scenes, were first instituted, like the Carol, in the early renaissance period. However, the first occurrence can be traced back to 1223AD Italy. Francis of Assissi is said to have created the first nativity scene. Since its inception, it gained immense popularity among the Italians and became one of the inseparable constituents of the celebrations.
The above article describes some of the traditions that were evident in the Christmas celebration during the renaissance period. Though many of them have disappeared from the modern celebrations, there are some which still survive.