Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Great Moments in Fools Timeline History


June 9, 1435 - The Council of Basel prohibits church-sanctioned Feasts of Fools

These Feasts, which had been previously banned in England, would not disappear entirely. They persisted, largely in France, well into the 1500s as secular carnivals. Aspects of them lasted well into the 1800s in celebrations such as St. Bartholomew's Fair in England. Interestingly, the banishment of fools and foolery from Church holiday festivals coincided with the start of the heyday of the European court jester.

[On not performing spectacles in churches] In some churches, during certain celebrations of the year, there are carried on various scandalous practices. Some people with mitre, crozier and pontifical vestments give blessings after the manner of bishops. Others are robed like kings and dukes; in some regions this is called the feast of fools or innocents, or of children. Some put on masked and theatrical comedies, others organize dances for men and women, attracting people to amusement and buffoonery. Others prepare meals and banquets there. This holy synod detests these abuses. It forbids ordinaries as well as deans and rectors of churches, under pain of being deprived of all ecclesiastical revenues for three months, to allow these and similar frivolities, or even markets and fairs, in churches, which ought to be houses of prayer, or even in cemeteries. They are to punish transgressors by ecclesiastical censures and other remedies of the law. The holy synod decrees that all customs, statutes and privileges which do not accord with these decrees, unless they add greater penalties, are null.

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