Happy Medieval New Year!

The world turned upside down.

Happy medieval New Year!

“Daddy, tomorrow is New Years Eve, please take me a gift/ My daddy, he dazzles, got out and took me glass baubles.” – a contemporary unknwon author (photo: Niki Sound)

The Feast of Fools, a medieval adaptation of some ancient pagan festivities (most probably related to Saturnalia), was organized around the 1st of January, being assimilated with the New Year coming. In a grotesque set up, a mock bishop or pope was elected, ecclesiastical ritual was parodied, a lord of misrule or even a burlesque king of fools or of the bean was elected, characters that represented the temporary change of rules and hierarchical social and professional places (Lord of Misrule, King of Fools, King of the Bean in England, Abbot of Unreason in Scotland or Abbe de la Malgouveme in France). In spite of repeated prohibitions and penalties imposed by the Council of Basel in 1431, the feasts did not die out entirely until the 16th century. Frans Floris the Elder and Pieter Brueghel approached this subject in a admirable manner. After the project of songs related to the war, crusade, pilgrimage and procession in 2014, Nomen Est Omen will start in 2015 a new project on the carnivalesque idea of the world turned upside down.

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