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Monday, December 26, 2011

Stuff Your Stocking Blogfest: Kaye Manro

Celebrating the Holidays Medieval Style

By Kaye Manro

In my short book A Medieval Yule, which released on December 19 from Red Rose Publishing, Twelfth Night is important to the hero Marcus of Windom and heroine Lady Liana because that was the time of year they married. To give the feel of what a Medieval Yule was like I wanted Marcus to have a time of remembering since as the story opens, he is not happy and his life is not going well at all this Yuletide season:

Marcus remembered Christmastides past when Castle Windom fairly bustled with kindled fires and crowded activity. Holly wreaths, ivy and mistletoe strung about in all the chambers, the great hall decked out in candle shine and wassailing glory. Wines and meats imported from foreign lands abounded. From afar people visited, laughing and dancing about as troubadours sang and played their merry tunes.

What were the Holidays like in medieval times, circa the 12th Century?

The Yule season or Yuletide is a medieval winter celebration and is associated with the Winter Solstice and the Twelve Days of Christmas known as Twelfth Night. It is a time for festivities and feasting.

The enticing aromas of roasted meat and the herbs and spices of mulled wine permeated the keep. The feast would be divided into several courses: cheese with soup or broth, vegetables and a lean meat, heavier savory dishes and finally sweet treats. Spiced or mulled (warmed) wine and ale-based drinks abounded.

This brings up the ancient tradition of Wassailing. A large ornate vessel known as the Wassailing bowl filled with a spiced and fermented beverage was passed around to celebrate health and good cheer. Waes hael literally means “be in good health.” A reveler would shout “Waes hael!” and drink from the bowl then pass it to another who would reply “Drinc Hail!” (Drink to your health) take a drink and then in turn pass it on shouting “Waes hael!” to the next person and so on.

Lending to the merriment is the warm and inviting atmosphere of the bells, holy, ivy and mistletoe that decked the chambers and halls of the castle. And especially the Yule Log, a large extremely hard wood, burning in the hearth in stark contrast to the freezing winter cold outside.

And what medieval festival would be complete without the Troubadours? These singers and musicians hired to provide entertainment were an integral part of the merriment and dancing. Carols similar to “Deck the Halls” resounded throughout the corridors and chambers of the castle.

And this party continued for twelve days! Hence the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Recipe: Ye Olde Ale Wassail

1 quart ale (or beer if you must)
1 quart rum or brandy
grated lemon peel
3 eggs
4 oz powdered sugar
Heat ale to almost boiling with spices. Beat eggs with sugar while ale is heating up. Combine whipped eggs and hot ale in a large pitcher. Put rum or brandy into another large pitcher and pour from one to another until mixed well. Then pour into a holiday wreathed wassail bowl (or punch bowl). Best served hot! (Serves 8)

Blurb: A Medieval Yule

A fortnight ago she left him.

Marcus of Windom stood alone in an empty castle without Lady Liana by his side. The frigid winds brought forth by the Yule Season pressed upon him. He pulled the parchment from whence he carried it and read her chilling parting words once again. I can no longer live as your lady-wife… If ever she returned would her sensual warmth be enough to melt the ice she had caused to form around his broken heart?

About the Author: As far as romance goes I’ve been writing for several years. I usually write in the SF sub-genre (called Science Fiction Romance) I love techie stuff and I've been called a geek girl. But I’m a romance author at heart and when I branch out into other genres it is usually Time Travel or Medieval. I write sensual stories with sexy heroes and heroines. I’m also a journalist and editor, so I can get really busy at times.

Where to find Kaye:
Buy Link

I will be giving away a copy of A Medieval Yule to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment to be entered.


Joanne said...

Great post and blurb. It was interesting finding about the holidays in medieval times. Thanks for the giveaway.


JeanMP said...

Thanks for the blurb and info regarding holidays in medevial times. The recipe sounds rather delicious.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Kaye Manro said...

Joanne - Thanks to you for stopping by! Yes holidays in medieval times were similar to ours but also different. I'm glad you liked the info and blurb!

Jean P - I'm glad you stopped by. Thanks! The wassailing recipe is really good. It's fun wassail today too!

Debby said...

Yule sounds like a neat holiday. I wish I could go back in time and observe. Books are the best way!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Kaye Manro said...

Debby - I'd love to step back in time! Yule sounds great to me too. And you are so right-- well researched books are the best way to experience the past.

Nancy said...

Great Blog Kaye.
I will have to try your wassail recipe. This is a great story.


Mountain Laurel said...

Interesting post and recipe...good food for thought! thanks for sharing!

Kaye Manro said...

Hello Nan - Thanks for stopping by. Yes try the recipe-- it's very good!

Hi Mountain Laurel - Thanks for stopping by as well. It is an interesting recipe.

Shadow said...

Interesting post! I love how you authors describe holidays in medevial days. Its always interesting. Thank you for the recipe too! Happy holidays!

June M. said...

I had never heard of 12th Night until I started reading historicals. I love learning about celebrations & customs of different cultures, countries, and in the past.
manning_j2994 at yahoo dot cmo

Kaye Manro said...

Hi June! Thanks for stopping by. I love history too. Twelfth Night seemed to be a wonderful time to set a holiday story.

Shelley Munro said...

I always think Yule sounded like a fun and joyous time when they had to work so hard the rest of the year. I enjoyed your post, Kaye.

Kaye Manro said...

Thank you, Shelley. I'm so glad you stopped by.

Fedora said...

How fun to learn some of this, Kaye! It's always fascinating to learn what life was like at a different time, in a different place! Hope your own celebrating was merry and memorable this year!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

VampedChik said...

I love that time period. It always fascinated me. Thanks so much for sharing and I will have to try the recipe. :)