Thanksgiving’s Roots in Old World Harvest Feasts

Painting by William Holman Hunt - circa 1847 to 1857 - A scene of Medieval drunkeness, while revelry in the street is seen through the window . . . as might have taken place on the Martinmas holiday.

Many Americans aren’t aware that our own Thanksgiving feast has precedent in the ritual and ceremony of Old Europe.

Seven Medieval Christmas Traditions

medieval Christmas

Christmas in medieval Europe could include feasting, gambling, one-day marriages, boy bishops and trolls.

Up Helly Aa: an ancient Viking festival?

Up Helly Aa - the Burning Galley

Each year on the last Tuesday of January the town of Lerwick is awash with Vikings. The day culminates with the burning of an ornate longship, complete with dragon head and tail, thus creating a striking image of a Norse sea – king’s funeral pyre.

Monstrosity in Old English and Old Icelandic Literature

Beowulf fights Grendel's mother

In medieval Europe belief in monsters allowed for corresponding acceptance of the possibility of humans transforming into monsters. In medieval Iceland and Anglo-Saxon England the mixture of Christian and pagan world views and beliefs create a situation where the boundaries are not merely fluid but can be transgressed, in either direction.

The Dangerous Dead: The Early Medieval deviant burial at Southwell, Nottinghamshire in a wider context

the Southwell deviant early medieval burial

This was the deviant burial, which had been buried (or reburied) intact along with a further leg and lower arm bone…Without speculating wildly on the implications of the iron studs, it is known that treatment of this sort was accorded to bodies which had died unnaturally or when there was some reason to fear the supernatural’.

The Satanic Phenomenon: Medieval Representations of Satan

Medieval representations of Satan

The ever-evolving, interconnectedness of culture, religion, and superstition make for a truly unique theatrical experience in the middle ages. With limited understanding and access to scripture, medieval Christians generated a blended belief system, in order to make sense of the metaphysical world, which manifests itself in medieval drama‟s representations of Satan.

Medieval Halloween! Great books for Ghosts, Goblins, Witches & Ghouls!

BOOK: Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society

Some spooktacular reads to celebrate Medieval Halloween!

Daily Life in the Spanish Reconquest: Scenes from Tenth-Century León

Spanish Reconquista

Built by the Romans to garrison to Seventh Legion, León may also have been the base of the legion’s military commander, who was sometimes fully empowered by the emperor to govern Asturias and Galicia.

Medieval Fairs: an archaeologist’s approach

Medieval market

This paper intends to explore some of the possibilities offered by the physical and conceptual structures of fairs towards the interpretation of medieval culture from the viewpoint of an archaeologist working largely in southern Italy.

“Want to joust?” talks to champion jouster Shane Adams about his love of the sport and life on the road as a full time jouster

Jousting at the Medieval Festival

Replete with re-enactors, jousting, workshops, vendors and medieval military displays, the festival had something for everyone.

Swansea Castle to be opened to visitors this weekend


Swansea Castle in Wales will be opened up for public tours this weekend, allowing people to explore the medieval Welsh ruin. It’s only the third time in decades that people will have the chance to explore the historic attraction.

Re-enactment to mark the 526th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth

bosworth reenactment 2010 - photo courtesy Leicestershire County Council

Bosworth Battlefield in Leicestershire will bring the drama and excitement of a medieval battle to life in a spectacular re-enactment to mark the 526th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August 2011. Hundreds of medieval re-enactors will bring history to life as Kings, knights, archers and soldiers come face […]

Battle of Nations – Historical Reenactment Tournament


The second international festival on historical reenactment “Battle of Nations” is taking place at the Khotyn Fortress in western Ukraine on April 30th to May 3rd. is pleased to be able to offer live-streaming of this event. The first festival which was held in 2010 at the Khotyn Fortress has gained popularity among foreign […]

Linda Laforge on running a medieval fair

great_northern_medieval_fayre joust

The first annual Great Northern Medieval Fayre was held earlier this year near Toronto, Canada. The event was held over a four-day period and drew thousands of visitors. Now that all the work is done, Linda Laforge, one of the co-organizers of the fayre, talks to about the challenges and rewards of running a […]

Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle takes place this weekend

Herstmonceux_Castle - photo by 6mat1

The Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle, which is taking place this weekend in the English county of East Sussex, is expected to draw its biggest-ever attendance this year. Last year over 30,000 visitors flocked through the gates at the three-day Festival, already the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. This year, the Festival has […]

York’s Barley Hall celebrates 650th anniversary

Barley_Hall. Photo by Fingalo Christian Bickel

It’s survived the Black Death, a siege during England’s civil war and second world war air raids and still the medieval Barley Hall in York is standing strong and preparing to mark its 650th anniversary this weekend. York Archaeological Trust, owners of York’s restored Barley Hall town house, is inviting visitors to experience two weekends […]

More videos on the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald

Various media outlets have been covering the ceremonies and events marking the Battle of Grunwald, which was fought in 1410 in present-day Poland.

Poland celebrates 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald

Battle of Grunwald by Jan Matejko (1878)

The county of Poland is marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald, which helped to secure the country’s independence, with various celebrations and re-enactments. Among those who took part in ceremonies were Polish president-elect Bronislaw Komorowski, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and the Grand Master of the Order of Teutonic Knights, bishop Bruno Platter. Events […]

Isle of Man hosts Festival of Archaeology

Rushen Abbey from 1656

The Isle of Man will be celebrating all things archaeological from July 17th to August 1st. The celebrations are to coincide with the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of British Archaeology, and will be the first time the Island has run its own Festival of Archaeology. Manx National Heritage in association with other organisations has […]

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