Christmas Traditions in Medieval Times
Happy Holidays, RomCon Readers! It is lovely to return to chat about my latest release, Trust In Me, the second medieval romance in the Vengeance Trilogy. I have a sneak peek for you as well as a free Kindle e-book of the story for one lucky commenter!
I am often asked why I like to write about medieval times. I enjoy history in general but especially the medieval period -- knights, ladies, swords, chain mail, jousts, and honor. Awesome stuff! I love learning all the details of daily life, including how holidays were celebrated.
As with many Christian holidays, Christmas was a blending of pagan and Christian celebrations. William I of England chose to be crowned on Christmas Day in 1066 AD, so it has been an important holiday for centuries. Did you know that gift giving at Christmas dates back to the medieval period? This was originally done between tenant and lord, but generosity was the spirit of the day.
The holiday was celebrated with traditional food and drink, much like we do today. The main course might be goose, venison, swan (only with the king’s permission), or wild boar (complete with rosemary and the apple in its mouth). Wassail made of ale and spices and sweetened with honey would be served. Mince pie was baked with shredded meat, spices and fruit. It was believed that a wish made with your first bite of the pie would come true but a refusal of it would bring bad luck. Frumenty (a thick porridge) made with dried fruit and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg might also be served. A Yule log would be blessed and burned, lasting twelve days with a piece kept to light the next year’s log. Many homes would be decorated with greenery, including holly. It all sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?
Now here’s a brief excerpt from Trust In Me:
Elizabeth’s heart stuttered, and her stomach flew to her throat. How could she possibly be so attracted to this man when she’d just met him? She closed her eyes and drew in a breath to steady herself – only to breathe in him. A warm, musky smell that held a hint of the forest. Her eyes flew open, for she realized his hands still held her blanket. His fingers were unbelievably warm pressed against her thin chemise.
“Elizabeth?” Nicholas stepped closer, his vivid blue eyes holding her in place as he lowered his head.
Her lips parted, but no sound escaped. She couldn’t have looked away if she’d tried.
He pulled her nearer still, the heat of his body enveloping her. His fingers glided along her jaw, sending a shimmer of sensation flowing through her.
Oh, dear heavens. Her hands fluttered, uncertain, and the bread dropped to the floor, forgotten.
“I...” his voice trailed off, his breath mingling with hers.
“Aye?” she said, her gaze locked on his. She leaned toward him, her entire being yearning for his touch.
His gaze drifted down to her lips once again. With a gentle finger, he traced the corner of her mouth. For the space of a heartbeat, she thought he might, hoped he might...
* * *
Christ, but he longed to.
Her wide brown eyes seemed to hold the same awareness that echoed inside him. The woman before him was much different from the reserved lady he’d met earlier. This one was open, approachable, and even more desirable.
The light from the hearth cast a soft glow over her features. The arch of her brow, the length of her lashes, and her sweet fragrance could turn him into a poet for certain.
How could she smell of flowers when none yet bloomed?
Her light brown hair was twisted into a loose braid that fell past her waist. The firelight spun strands of it to red and gold. He could picture it unfastened and flowing around her. Her bare feet brought to mind bare limbs, teasing him – stirring him.
And those full lips. How was he supposed to resist them when they begged to be kissed? They parted as though she’d read his mind.
He leaned forward to taste her, defenseless against her charms, and pressed his lips to hers. The soft brush was not nearly enough. He moved closer still to better taste her.
“Lady Elizabeth?” A man’s voice intruded from the other side of the kitchen.
Elizabeth jerked back from Nicholas, her expression filled with alarm.
Nicholas cursed under his breath, unsure if he swore because of the interruption or at himself. Did no one in this keep ever sleep?
“Aye, Robert,” she answered, obviously recognizing the quiet voice.
“Is all well?” The steward stepped into the kitchen, his form visible in the shadows, his tone full of suspicion.
“Indeed,” she said. “Thank you, Lord Trisbane, for keeping me company.” She flicked a glance at him from under her lashes, her polite mask in place except for the high color in her cheeks.
Nicholas bowed. “My pleasure.” Indeed, it had been. A moment more, and he would’ve...what? Ravished her thoroughly? What was he doing?
“Lord Trisbane was having difficulty sleeping.” She looked at Robert and back to Nicholas. “And I was hungry.” Somehow, the emphasis she put on the word ‘hungry’ implied something other than food. Or was that just his wish?
Trust In Me is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/PB1td7. I love connecting with readers - you can find me at www.lanawilliams.net, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LanaWilliamsBooks and on Twitter at LanaWilliams28.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Don’t forget - One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a Kindle e-book of Trust In Me. Good luck and Happy Holidays to you!