Medieval Lifestyle

Medieval Entertainment, Games, Festivals, and Holidays

During medieval times there was a lot of ways that people kept themselves entertained. There were games, festivals, and things for recreation. Whether someone was living in the upper class or lower class everyone in the towns played games, though they varied based on social ranks (Middle Ages). The most popular of the games were chess, dice, or checkers (Diehl 71-72). The highest ranked parents would buy their children the best and most expensive checkered boards and chess pieces, though the boards were used for making up other games as well (Duby 242). Some of the games that the children in the medieval time made up were games such as queek, which was played with a checkered board and stones. In the game a child would guess which color the stone would land on, and then they would throw the rock. If they were correct on their color then they earned a point (Diehl 73). Another popular game that the children played was the alphabet game. This was probably because it was cheap and easy for the children to understand. Though there was a big difference in the social classes, most of the children didn’t care for social ranks and all got together to play (Duby 241). When the children were old enough, they would be able to go into woods to hunt; they would also be able to go on military expeditions (Duby 242).


Medieval Men Gambling
Most of the men in the town would either play dice or chess to gamble. They were only allowed to gamble in either the fairs or the markets, but most men did it anywhere they wouldn’t get caught (Duby 167). The dice that the people used were not just the typical square cubes like today; they were all different shapes. The dice also had different purposes. Most of the adults in the town would prefer to go into town and drink in the local taverns. This was a very popular event for all of the adults in every social rank (Medieval-life).

Outside Games

Medieval Men Hunting
Though some games were based upon the time of year and what season it was, the outside games that were liked by most of the people were ball games, jousting, races, wrestling, tug of war, and stone throwing (Diehl 73-78). During the harvesting time of the year people would be able to bob for apples or hunt near the town’s forest (Medieval-Life).


Medieval Royalty
The most extravagant and biggest festivals of the year were those hosted by the most powerful. In medieval times having or hosting a celebration gave you more social status (Duby 67). During any celebration or feast there was always a “high table” which was on a raised platform and sat the most powerful people at the celebration (Diehl 4).  During one of these celebrations there was jousting and feasts. The entertainers at the celebrations were Jesters, minstrels, acrobats, and jugglers (Middle Ages).  The feasts that were held were meant to last all day, or even over a few days. The feasts would incorporate many courses of food and lots of entertainment. Some entertainment at festivals were dancing and listening to music, though they differed through the different kinds of towns.


During the holiday season about 30 peasants would gather to celebrate the holiday (Duby 167). Most of the holidays were religious based; the most popular of them were Christmas, May Day, and Easter (Diehl 6). Just like today, the villagers got off work to celebrate festivals and holidays, a total of about eight weeks in a year (Middle Ages). Christmas was known as one of the most joyous times of the year. It was celebrated with feasts, dancing, and religious plays (Diehl 13). During Christmas time people decorated their great hall with evergreens plants, holly, and ivy (Diehl 6).

May Day

May Day was known as a great celebration and it is celebrated on the first of May (Diehl 9). May Day is a representation of the beginning of the courting season for the girls (Diehl 9). This was one of the most joyous festivals of the year (Diehl 10).

Easter was celebrated by having a festival and a feast. The color that represented Easter was white (Australian Media). The town would hang things and decorate the village and their home in the color white. Easter was known as one of the three big holidays and celebrations, along with Christmas and May Day.
Even though there was a lot of hard work to do back then, there was also a lot of ways that the people found to entertain themselves, whether through feasts, games, or celebrations.
This page was Created by Rachel R.