Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reported on the status of Brexit as 2019 came to a close. Jean reviewed Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. Tina shared a Portuguese soup, inspired by the British Christmas movie, Love, Actually.
Since we still have a few more days of Christmastide, I wanted to share “12 Days of Tudor Christmas,” a documentary with Lucy Worsley. I’m a big fan of hers. Most recently I wrote about Secrets of the Six Wives.
Ms. Worsley delights in her topic, engages with good humor, and is, apparently, willing to try anything once. It’s so much fun to watch her demonstrate the history in a way that comes alive, while also explaining the details to make it understandable for us modern folk.
There are similarities to modern British Christmases and things that are very different.
Here are some things you may recognize:
- Holly and ivy
- Mince pie (although the Tudor version is meat based and more a blend of savory and sweet)
- Festive roasted birds (albeit pheasant and swan instead of goose and turkey)
- Charity on what we now call Boxing Day and they called St. Stephen’s Day (of Good King Wenceslas fame)
- The Coventry Carol, “Lully, lullay”
And, here are some big differences:
- The timing — The Tudors partied between Christmas and Epiphany, not during the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve
- Boar as the feast centerpiece
- The Lord of Misrule with acrobats, costumes, and theatrical performances
The show 12 Days of Tudor Christmas runs 55 minutes, so it makes a great relaxing break in the season. It’s available to everyone for a few more weeks at PBS, if you live in the US. If you live in the UK, it’s available at the BBC website.