Modern life is full of entertainment. Around the home we can
read novels, watch television, listen to the radio, we can
surf the internet, we can do a craft project, chat on the
phone with friends or many other things. Away from home we
can drive on scenic tours, go to the movies, go shopping,
or to an amusement park, a museum, a sports arena. In Medieval
times the scope for entertainment was much more limited, but
people still found ways to entertain themselves.
Story telling was very important to the medieval family. Stories
were sometimes the only way to get news, to record events,
or teach lessons. Stories can be told in the dark around the
fire, they can be told while doing handcrafts, or in the short
rest before peasants went back to the harvest.
would be asked to tell stories as a way of sharing news of
far off places. Stories about the king and nobles would inform
the peasants in villages about a monarch they might never
get the chance to see with their own eyes. Very few medieval
peasants could read, so it was important to tell stories of
your ancestors and your history so that it would be remembered.
Adults told stories to children in order to teach them about
respect and how to behave.
the radio, CDs, MP3s, the only way to listen to music was
if someone was singing or playing an instrument. People would
sing while working, they would sing at home to amuse themselves,
and they would sing with friends. A traveling singer was always
welcome since they would know songs that would tell news of
the day, or new songs of heroic deeds that the townsfolk could
learn and sing long after the traveler had moved on.
would dance very courtly dances when they would go to visit
each other. Nobles danced to show off the beautiful clothes
they wore and the steps that each noble man and woman knew.
Villagers would dance at festivals like May Day and at harvest
festivals. Villagers danced to celebrate another season and
Games and Contests
Though organized sports did not exist as we know it, villagers
would play games with dice and cards, they would compete against
each other in their daily activities. Nobles would also compete
with one another. At tournaments knights would compete against
each other to show off their skill and to entertain those
Though villager and noble alike spent a lot
of time working and trying to survive in a harsh world. They
often still found time for amusement and plenty to amuse themselves.