Firstly I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a prosperous new year. I am sorry about the long silence, I will confess to several part written posts running up to Christmas however they never were complete and made it past draft stage.
In Italy it is traditional to wear red underwear on new years day as it is lucky; I sit here on my last day of freedom before heading back to the office (with lucky red pants on) and I am mulling over how things were in the past.
Exchanging gifts on Christmas Day is relatively new it was traditional to exchange gifts at New Year. Nobility were expected to send gifts the monarch and all items received are recorded in the Gift Rolls – an excellent source. Whether your gift was accepted or not could say a lot about your political standing and your favour with the Monarch.
A great example is when Henry VIII rejected Katherine of Aragon’s gift in 1532 but gladly accepted Anne Boleyn’s he would go on to marry Anne and divorce Katherine.
Here is the gift received from Kat Ashley Elizabeth I governess and confidant in 1564-65:
Mrs Asteley cheif gentilwoman of the preuy Chamber A Smocke wrought with blacke silke onely with a square coller
So with this festive season nearly at the close and the new year just started I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all very well in Twenty Thirteen AD.