Sources of Entertainment in the Middle Ages

People of the medieval ages often enjoyed entertainment as often as possible.  The many holidays and feast days made official by this time were all cause to celebrate.  In these celebrations, entertainers put on shows for the people of cities and villages.  Creative souls, these artisans, actors, jugglers, dancers and musicians quite possibly entertained masses of medieval citizens for hours on end.  After all, what else was there to do?  Play a game, that’s what!  People also greatly enjoyed playing different kinds of games with one another.  As most of us probably know from our own experiences, board games and similar recreational entertainment greatly aid in passing time.  Peasant, Kings and everyone in between enjoyed games of chess, cards, checkers and backgammon.  These games proved to be SO enjoyable that they’re actually still played a lot today!  Also a topic of popular interest was what kids of medieval Europe did to entertain themselves (considering the games above were typically for adults).  It’s been documented that the children of medieval Europe enjoyed playing with one another in a fashion once again, not unlike that of today.  Among the most popular for playing kids were:  catching butterflies, playing with a spinning top, and riding hobbyhorses (figure 1 below).
     (figure1)  A modern hobbyhorse, from
I’m certainly not surprised to learn of medieval society’s yearning to be entertained.  I’m also not surprised by the similarities between middle age entertainment and the ways we choose to entertain ourselves, respectively.  The basic concept is the same:  find something to occupy your time.  In their case, it was perhaps, “everyone’s dying…roll the dice”.  While in many of our cases it’s “9% unemployment…roll the dice”.
Especially in the case of the hobbyhorse are our two societies similar in entertainment.  It’s essentially a horse head on a stick!  Of course, these were made by each child’s mother in the middle ages, but today, they’re made by someone else’s mother and delivered right to your door for a mere $9.99 from Ikea.  Ironically, I think Ikea is Scandinavian or something.
All humor aside, I think that these similarities have been illustrated quite well in our text.  This is a nice addition that offers insight to the seemingly unchanging ways of human nature.  Virtually, everything is the same. 

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One response to “Sources of Entertainment in the Middle Ages

  1. Reblogged this on eclecticspot and commented:

    I’m not sure what this button does, but here goes.

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