Tuesday 28 December 2010

12 days of Mithra-mas day 4

December 29th Feast of Fools
Feast of fools--
Feast of buffoons--
Feast of ass--
Feast of fools---
Feast of the sub-deacons
Feast of the Fool’s Bishop
Feast of the lower clergy
-- From: La Pete De L’Ane

In the ancient Roman tradition of Saturnalia, it was customary to choose a mock King who ruled over chaos instead of order. When the early church attempted to get a greater grasp on the ancients they banned the traditions of anything 'pagan', but many people simply adopted a more 'christian' like version called the Feast of Fools.

It became a modern adaption of the saturnalia custom which allowed for the crowning of King of Fools whose job was to act as foolish as possible. The custom of switching roles also took place during the feast, as kings served their servants and lords and ladies gave up their position for this one day of acting up. This day allowed many to relax from the strict rigors and rules applied to their roles while allowing those on the lower class to also relax and taste what it meant to be from the ruling class.

The king of fools was chosen by hiding a coin or symbol within a cake or meal, when everyone had their piece the person with the coin became the King of Fools. his job entailed insulting the guests, chasing women, wearing silly clothing and entertaining the members of the hall, much like the jester.  Generally flaunting the rules and roles of society.

The real origins of the feast of fools perhaps pertains to the tradition of Kingly sacrifice. Where a year king was chosen and allowed to rule, at the end of his year he was killed to ensure the return of the sun, the earth's fertility and the good fortune of the tribe. In Scotland, they would bake bannock cakes, and purposely burn one, then place all the cakes within a bag, the person to draw the burned cake became the king. 

How to Celebrate
Why not host your own feast of fools party? 
  • Invite your guest to come in their most unusual outfits as possible. 
  • Reverse the menu, eat dessert first, then dinner then appetizers
  • How about having the ladies act the role of men, and men the role of ladies? Holding doors, men seared first, anything you can think of.
  • food fight anyone??
  • everyone could wear makeup that doesn't match, as well as paint their nails garish colors (men and women)
  • relax, and enjoy the party.
Tired of parties this season? How about making this into a mediation? Sit back and think about what you consider foolish, what acts and things would make you feel silly.  Think on what prevents you from letting go and having fun. Does the idea of being perceived as foolish bother you? Why?

Consider that the fool in the tarot story is the only one who simply opened the door, while the others argued about how to open the door or argued on the merits of the door being opened. It is in the middle age stories it is the ultimate "fool" who finds the Holy Grail, Perceval, whose innocence and belief took him where others feared to travel, yet he received the greatest reward.

Why not meditate also on what the fool in the tarot deck means, of the many interpretations these seem to be universal:
  • beginning
  • spontaneity
  • apparent folly
  • Faith
If nothing else, indulge in a few games, and acting silly today even if it just means making faces in the mirror.

Information from Wikipedia "Feast of Fools", Tarot information from LearnTarot.com, mediation idea derived from Winter Solstice by John Matthews
Be Blessed and Silly


  1. Aisha,
    this is a wonderful, informative post. Thanks for sharing. (And I love your 'foolish' signature!)

  2. Honoring "The Lord of Misrule" is something I'll be celebrating this year. I'm even going to bake a traditional 12th Night Cake. Thanks for a great post, Aisha :)

  3. @Wendy your welcome I love the Lord of Misrule, when i was younger we used to play this as kids, we got to pick a "king" and a lord and lady and had a blast. I hope you have fun


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