The spirit of Christmas past:Christmas celebrations in medieval and Tudor times

Ref: C3531840

We all tend to think our Christmas traditions date at most back to the Victorian era of cards and trees, but many go back much further to the Medieval and Tudor eras. Bring along your own mince pie and glass of mulled wine, sit back and enjoy being transported to earlier times to hear about such things as mumming, the Lords of Misrule, Twelfth Night; a time of the year when people of all social classes relaxed and enjoyed a 12 day holiday from the cares of everyday life. We are delivering this Christmas Lecture using Zoom. We will email, a few days before, the link to join the lecture with details of how to access Zoom if you should need it.

Course aim

A light hearted but informative look at Christmas traditions and celebrations in Tudor and Medieval times and how these altered as the Reformation progressed.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Talk about the origins of many of our current Christmas traditions.
  • Understand Christmas both as a Church Festival and a time of feasting and relaxation.
  • See Christmas celebrations from the points of view of people of differing social class and as a national holiday.
  • Understand how the changing religious and political climate affected Christmas celebrations.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

The spirit of Christmas past:Christmas celebrations in medieval and Tudor times


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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