Tuesday, 9 December 2008

9 December - The Merry Medieval Month of December

For out Medieval forebears, December was the month of slaughter. Animals that would cost to much to feed throughout the cold winter season would be butchered at the beginning of December, with only some animals left for breeding stock for the next year. With so much fresh meat around, and with the autumn harvest still filling the storehouses, is it any wonder that the Feast of Christmas was exactly that.

A highlight of the feast was the bringing in of the boar's head, and which is where our own traditional Christmas ham originates from (in part). And of course before that the boar had to be caught, and so the Christmas hunt was also a popular part of the Medieval Christmas for those among the upper echelons of society.

Today, 9 December, also happens to be Saint Budock's feast day. Budock (aka Budoc, Budo, Budeux and Beuzec) was supposedly the son of a king of Brittany and of Azenor, the daughter of the ruler of Brest, in France. Azenor is said to have been exiled in a cask, and Budock was born at sea, attended by Saint Brigid. He was raised in a monastery near Waterford, in Ireland, and became first the abbot of the house and then bishop of Dol, in Brittany. Budock ruled there for twenty-six years. However, another tradition claims that Budock was an Irish hermit who settled in Budock, near Falmouth, England.

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