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Christmas and New Year’s Eve: a dream at Castello di Gargonza

Christmas and New Year’s Eve: a dream at Castello di Gargonza

Christmas and New Year’s Dream at Castello di Gargonza.
The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Evocative and welcoming, to be spent with your favorite people, and even better if in charming places.
Have you ever thought of celebrating them in an alternative and unusual way, like inside a castle?

Castello di Gargonza is ready to welcome you within its walls and transport you to a unique and timeless atmosphere.

How Christmas was Celebrated in the Middle Ages

While the medieval European calendar had numerous holidays, Christmas was the highlight with twelve days of festivities. From peasants to the affluent classes, the Christmas season was dedicated to a long break.

How Nobles Celebrated Christmas in the Middle Ages

The exchange of gifts for the wealthy people at Christmas included precious jewels and garments, taking place on both December 25th and January 1st. However, food was often considered the best part of the celebrations. Medieval castles were adorned for the festivities, decorating one of the most spectacular rooms with festive greenery like ivy and holly. The meal was usually an elaborate lunch with multiple courses, perhaps featuring extravagant dishes prepared by the chefs to impress on the occasion. For example, boar’s head on a plate or roasted swan or peacock with feathers.

How Peasants Celebrated Christmas

Christmas was celebrated in all social classes. However, many could not afford the luxury of a grand feast and expensive gifts.
Free workers on estates received gifts from their lord. This tradition spread over the centuries, leading to servants receiving a box of gifts on December 26th (hence the name “St. Stephen’s Day”). Children received simple toys from their parents, such as dolls and marbles.
Even peasants could decorate their homes as greenery like holly was readily available. The tradition of burning the Yule log also continued into medieval times. This involved burning a large section of the tree trunk on Christmas Eve, continuing to burn for the twelve days of Christmas.

Families indulged in foods they wouldn’t typically buy, such as cheese and boiled meat. They also drank beer, typically produced by peasant women.
January 1st was still considered an important day, even though no gifts were exchanged. Instead, a superstition emerged that it was important for good luck in the new year for someone to be the first visitor to a person’s house on New Year’s Day (First step).

Entertainment during Christmas

Of course, drinking was an important part of the Christmas festivities, and there are accounts of Lords worried about riots during the holiday season. Games were also popular, including board games like chess, still played today.

Christmas meals were generally followed by festive songs, dances, music, and sports. Popular musical instruments included flutes, lutes, and drums. The medieval version of football involved moving the ball to a predetermined position and had very few rules. People even tied horse shinbones to their feet to attempt skating on frozen lakes during winter.

To spend your Christmas and New Year 2023 like in a fairy tale from another era, come to Castello di Gargonza!
Special menus for both holidays are planned in a magical and unique atmosphere that only a medieval castle can provide.