(13.) For instance, "Candlemas, Shrove Tuesday, Hocktide
, May Day, Whitsuntide, Midsummer Eve, Harvest-home, Halloween, and the twelve days of the Christmas season ending with Twelfth Night," Barber, Shakespeare's festive comedy, 4.
FIESTIVE events provided a marketplace to serve that commonality of interests, allowing for the flourishing of a mixed economy of welfare at seasonal celebrations and holidays, such as Whitsun (or Whitsunday, the festival of Pentecost), Rogation (a procession and blessing of crops invoking God's mercy), Easter, Hocktide
(a fundraising ritual to collect funds when agricultural rents were due), and Christmas.
In traditional culture, customary performance characteristically elevated women to central roles--most notably as May or harvest queens, as leaders of long dances, as processional leaders (with their daughters) in Ascension Day activities, or as leaders of hocktide
festive collections or other guild activities.
It included merry tales; ballads mocking obnoxious suitors; farce; often obscene jigs, such as those performed by Shakespeare's clown, Will Kempe; festive rituals such as Hocktide
, Horn Fair, and the skimmington; commedia dell'arte lazzi; and so on.
They were actively involved in a wide range of activity that spurred laughter--such as skimmingtons, horn fairs, Hocktide
binding, riddling, rhyming mock verses, and even performing in jigs.
There are references to Hocktide
gatherings and Whitsun Ales right to the end of the period.
A CUSTOM associated with Coventry always took place on the second Tuesday (originally Sunday) after Easter, and was part of Hocktide
, known as "Hoc or Hoke Tuesday".
mummings, disguisings, masques" (25)--associated with the procession of holidays--"Shrove Tuesday, Hocktide
, May Day, Whitsuntide, Midsummer Eve" (26)--that for long centuries had governed the rhythms of the European medieval year.
, eight days after Easter, teams of men and women kidnapped members of the opposite sex and ransomed them for the benefit of parish funds.
Sally-Beth MacLean gathers up the few precious scraps of information on Hocktide
festivals, building them into a coherent picture, and Malcolm Jones convincingly demonstrates a wealth of proverbial resonances in the Wakefield Prima Pastorum never before noticed (a pity that accompanying illustrations are rather grey).
2) of these dramatic activities: Peter Greenfield shows how the Christmas drama in English aristocratic households reaffirmed the ties and hierarchy between landlord and tenant; for Sally-Beth MacLean, the English pre-Reformation Hocktide
festivities temporarily suspended the social and economic subservience of women to men in a saturnalian release after Lent.
Much of what the reformers had to reform, in a sense, was only "traditional" in the sense of having dated back a century or two; May games, Robin Hood plays, and Hocktide
parades of giants were not, in other words, residual traces of ancient paganism as an earlier generation of scholars (especially those concerned with witchcraft) once believed.