Všedný a sviatočný deň v živote stredovekého šľachtica v neskorom stredoveku

The Festive and Everyday Life of the Medieval Noble

The church or liturgical calendar was the crucial factor that influenced differentiation between everyday and festive days in the whole Christian Europe. Religious service divided a day into separate sections; feasts of the church did the same within a year. The church calendar has an ultimate influence on the way how medieval men would spend their days. Although presence at worship depended mainly on the possibility to get to the church and to some extent also on individual devoutness, basically attendance at religious service on Sundays and during the principal church feasts celebrating major saints was compulsory.
It is estimated there was over fifty feat days, not including Sundays. Sundays add further more than fifty days. For a noble, participation at the feat did not mean just a duty to attend worship. Principal feasts were connected with festive processions lasting sometimes several hours and offering great spectacular performance for the masses. Moreover, fasting as the means of cleansing the body preceded principal feasts. Church feasts therefore substantially affected also eating habits of a medieval man. Inherent part of the fast was not only prohibition of pleasures, dances, hunting, tournaments and sexual activities, but it also involved some other restrictions and regulations.
Preserved royal accounts provide details about the way how the church celebrated feasts, such as records from the courts of the two Jagellonian kings of Hungary Vladislas and Louis. For example from the records of expenses of the king Louis from the years 1525 and 1526, we can clearly see which feasts they celebrated at the royal court.
Nevertheless, some feasts and liturgical periods allowed for amusements and secular festivities. One of the most attractive periods of liturgical calendar was the Carnival with its typical celebrations and buoyant amusements. Several written sources record expenses on carnival cloth and costumes for the king and his courtiers. Tournaments were a traditional popular activity during the Carnival season.
However, days of such popular festivities and celebrations could not be positively counted as festive days, as they verged on commonplace reality and they rather represented everyday practice than a religious feast. A real church feast was perceived as a time for prayers and ostentatious performances that were extremely popular in the Middle Ages.