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Lucy Worsley's 12 Days of Tudor Christmas

Lucy Worsley smiling in Tudor period winter clothing with snow blowing around her
Burning Bright Productions
Lucy Worsley brings a magnificent Tudor Christmas to life, exploring the rituals and riches on the season during Henry VIII's reign.

Sun. Dec. 27 at 10 pm on WKAR-HD 23.1 & STREAMING | Discover the surprising Tudor origins of some favorite Christmas traditions.Join Lucy Worsley on a 12-day extravaganza as she discovers that much of what we enjoy in contemporary Christmas---from carols to turkey, gift-giving to mistletoe and mulled wine---has surprising Tudor origins, rooted in devotion and charity.

The popular royal historian and TV personality---in lavish period costume---brings to life a magnificent Tudor Christmas, exploring the rituals and riches of the 12-day holiday as it was celebrated during the reign of King Henry VIII. Enjoy a fun-filled and revelatory special that combines the sacred and the secular into an unforgettable time filled with entertainment, feasting, drinking and traditions both strange and familiar.

The Tudor celebration of Christmas was a period of food, music, dance and tradition that began on December 25 and concluded on January 5, the eve of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. Through interviews with historians and newly accessible archival materials, Lucy reconstructs the particular activities performed each day, revealing that the King and his subjects celebrated Christmas in a nationwide spectacular that brought all levels of society together for an extended holiday of indulgence and merry-making. Donning period garb and rolling up her sleeves, Lucy prepares feasts, learns to decorate in Tudor style, and does a bit of caroling while also offering up a fascinating portrait of a nation at a pivotal time in history.

Lucy experiences the specific activities---some recreated for the first time by experts especially for this film---and explores the meanings of each day, beginning with feasting on Christmas, featuring an enormous poached and seasoned boar's head accompanied by its own choral performance. Other days are given over to sports (most of which were illegal during the rest of the year), acts of charity, drinking, games, singing and more. Gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day and could be highly political: the wrong gift to the King could ruin a career. Some of the more unusual traditions included a day of, "Misrule," in which social order was turned on its head as children had control over parents and, "the Lord of Misrule," was allowed to make fun of the King. "Mummering," a strange and spooky Christmas custom in which costumed neighbors dropped in for mischievous fun, is a prototype of Halloween trick-or-treating.

Watch the special at video.wkar.org during or after the premiere date.

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