A Tudor Christmas: Part One

A Tudor Christmas: Part One

A guest post by Wendy Pyatt

Tudor Christmas Decorations

The Tudors did not have Christmas trees, although they were around in the 16th century. Those are a Baltic/northern German tradition and even then, they are not recorded until about 1520. The first known record of a Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia.

The decorations the English in Tudor times would have used would have included natural evergreens like holly, ivy, yew, mistletoe, box and laurel. They would not have decorated their  houses until Christmas Eve as it was thought to be unlucky to do it before then. The more modern tradition of fairy lights is said to originate from the 16th century “Legend of Martin Luther”. Luther was walking in the snow-covered woods and, seeing stars through the trees, was struck by their beauty. He took a tree home and put candles on it; that’s why we have fairy lights!

Tudor Christmas Carols

The earliest recorded collection of Christmas carols dates from 1521, published by Wynken de Worde, and includes The Boars Head Carol. Carol means “a dance with a song” and carols flourished throughout Tudor times as a way to celebrate and to spread the message of the nativity. Other Christmas carols the Tudors would have been familiar with include The Coventry Carol, While Shepherds Watched, The First Nowell, Angels from the Realms of Glory, Ding Dong Merrily on High (French in origin), In Dulci Jubilo, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Wassail carols, of which there are  many, were also popular and most areas of the country have their own version.

Originally published at www.localhistories.org

{Main photo credit: Mary Louise @ Unsplash, https://unsplash.com/search/christmas-candle?photo=v21n75hgo4E }