Merry Christmas! Hopefully you are still celebrating on this fourth day of the Christmas Octave. Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents, one of the many important feasts celebrated during these Christmas days. In the monastery this was an occasion to sing the very beautiful (musically, anyway, despite the tragic subject matter) Coventry Carol. It written in 1534, just missing the Late Middle Ages, but we can talk about it in this post since we have a copy it being performed by the Mediaeval Baebes (ha, ha). It is traditionally sung acapella, as you will hear, which makes it so haunting.
In case you missed last week’s episode of A Good Habit, you might want to take a listen, as we discussed Christmas in the Middle Ages with the Modern Medievalist, James Griffin. I was so looking forward to this show since we were privileged to have James in studio with us, but I was kept at home by a nasty cold and laryngitis. The first time I ever missed a show in three and a half years and it had to be this one…It was a great episode, and really could have gone on for another hour or two, since there were so many subjects they didn’t get to, like the Boar’s Head Feast (which I don’t know anything about, but I did find this engraving of it, and I know the MM could probably write a fascinating blog about it). After you whet your appetite listening to the show, you’ll want to add his blog, Modern Medievalism, to your favorites and grab a cup of coffee, there are lots of fascinating articles to read there and you will always find something to interest you. Keep an eye on it, and perhaps he will add some posts on Christmas in the Middle Ages that he didn’t get to on the radio. You may have heard James on our radio show earlier this year to discuss Requiem Masses and other topics related to praying for the dead, but here’s another link that will be of interest to you as well: His appearance on Radio Maria to discuss lay piety in the Middle Ages.