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Town Fair


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When Christmas was over, they looked forward to Shrove Tuesday which was celebrated with pancake-tossing, cock fighting, plays and football matches. This was the last celebration before Lent.

Mothering Sunday, which was during Lent, was also a holiday where young people were given time off to visit their parents, to take gifts and eat simnel cakes. At Easter most people took communion and gave presents of coloured or decorated eggs.

The Spring Festival of May Day was not religious but of Pagan origin, the main attraction being dancing round the Maypole. The party went on all day and all night and morris dancers were a popular part of the celebration.

At Whitsun, the religious ceremony commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit, church wardens would brew a specially potent ale and sell to everyone in the church yard or the church to raise funds for the parish. It was also another excuse for a party, most villages also had their own Feast day to celebrate the Patron Saint of their parish church.

On Midsummer Eve, bonfires were lit and there were more celebrations. Harvest Home was celebrated on the 29th September by eating the Michaelmas feast of goose. All Hallows Eve on the 31st October, they remembered ghosts, witches and souls of the dead.

In November, Londoners had the Lord Mayor's show and the Elizabethan year was completed with a celebration of the anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne on November 17th.

There was not much organised sport in Elizabethan days only archery, tennis and bowls. The most popular outdoor activities were stag-hunting, falconry, hare coursing and bear baiting. The Paris Garden in Southwark, the centre of bear baiting, drew large, noisy crowds.

Tobacco first came to England in 1565 from the New World, introduced by Sir John Hawkins and made fashionable by Walter Raleigh. By the beginning of the 17th century, there were 7,000 shops in London alone selling tobacco.

17th Jun 2005

English, History

Key Stages:
Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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