Mardi Gras (In Elizabethan England)

Maureen Martinez Maureen_Martinez at
Mon Feb 19 11:07:24 PST 1996

from Jenny Winslow :  

Small correction....The author of Daily Life (DLEE) is Jeffrey Singman, and it 
IS a really fabulous book...(as well as a really fabulous author, a friend of 
mine.)  I have several copies of the text as well as his other book, Daily Life 
in Chaucerian England (DLCE).  (Unless you have another text of the same 

>>Daily Life in Elizabethan England
>>By Jeffrey L. Singman

>>The Greenwood Press "Daily Life Through History" Series

>>The first book on Elizabethan England to rise our of the "living history" 
>>movement, it combines a unique hands-on approach with the best of current 
>>research.  Organized for easy reference, it is enlivened with how-to sections 
>>-- recipes, clothing patterns, songs, and games, all gathered from original 
>>sources.  This hands-on approach recreates the daily life of ordinary people, 
>>not just the aristocracy, and systematically covers the most basic facts of 
>>life in a  readily accessible format.  Clearly illustrated with 94 drawings, 
>>patterns, and diagrams, it provides a treasure trove of information for 
>>library use and for those interested in recreating Elizabethan life.

If you are interested in picking up a copy of either of these (at a slight 
discount off the $45.00 retail cost), email me at Maureen_Martinez at 
They are hard bound books, and I have about 6 copies of each left.


Jenny Winslow
MKA Maureen Martinez


Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday as it was (and is still) called in the
English-speaking countries, was the festival that was celebrated on the
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  According to Daily Life In Elizabethan England
by John Singley (a really fabulous, affordable and highly recommended book):

"This holiday was the last day before the fasting season of Lent.  On the
Continent, this day was celebrated with wild abandon, reflected in the modern
Mardi Gras.  The English version was more subdued but still involved ritual
feasting and violence.  (Doesn't this sound like an event?)  On this day it
was traditional to eat fritters and pancakes.  It was also a day for playing
football (a game much rougher than any of its modern namesakes), and for the
sport of "cockthrashing" or "Cockshys."  In cockthrashing, the participants
tied a cock to a stake and threw sticks at it; they payed the owner of the
cock a few pence for each try, and a person who could knock down the cock and
pick it up before the cock regained its feet won the cock as a prize.  In
towns, this was often a day for the apprentices to riot; their violence was
often aimed against those who transgressed sexual mores, especially
prostitutes.  The two days previous were sometimes called Shrove Monday and
Shrove Sunday."

Aubrey, you may cheerfully ignore that apprentice business.

I believe I can find some information regarding Mardi Gras celebration in
Italy if anyone is interested, but I knew right where this was.  Reply if you
interested and I'll try to find it.

Tivar, I hope this restores your faith in our educational system (not that it

Siobhan Ni'Breoghan Fitzlloyd
Have a great Shrove Tuesday and stay away from roosters, apprentices and

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