Medieval Games

These are games that are either not associated with any particular holiday or are associated with holidays that are not commonly celebrated anymore.

Bringing Home the Bacon

bacon strip

Lammas ("Loaf Mass") Day in August was a time of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest, and the church would bless bread and grain (Cosman 73). According to Cosman (pp. 75-76), following game was played at that time of year.

Bringing Home the Bacon was a contest for married couples with half a pig as a reward for marital harmony. In order to win the contest, the couple would have to participate in a mock trial to prove that they have never once regretted their marriage. One person would play the Judge and a group of other players would be the Jury. The Judge would ask questions of the couple, making up humorous situations which might cause anger or embarrassment on behalf of either the husband or wife and then asking them, "Was there no jealousy, joylessness, or jangling (loud complaint)?" Then, the husband or wife would have to come up with a clever reply to the question, showing that they were not angry with each other, no matter what the situation was. Cosman (pp. 75-76) gives an example of a question that the Judge might ask the wife:

"What if your husband chased the dog into the banquet hall, which spooked the cat, which leapt into the bowl of cream, which splashed the guest of honor? Was there no jealousy, joylessness, or jangling?"

Then, the wife would have to say something to put the situation in a positive light and show how happy she was with her husband for doing what he did. The Judge would ask questions of all the couples competing for the prize, and the Jury would decide which couple was most worthy. The winning couple was basically the one with the most creative answers to the questions. Of course, the winning couple was awarded the half pig and brought home the bacon.

Idea: If you'd like to play a similar game but with children, instead of having them play as married couples, they could play as best friends or siblings. The Judge would ask them questions about how they get along with their best friend or a brother or sister, even if they do things that might cause problems or be potentially embarrassing. (Ex. "What if your brother started practicing the drums at 2 am on Saturdays?" or "What if your best friend made you spend an entire weekend watching a marathon of a tv show that you don't like?")

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