My Life in the Fat Lane – The Renaissance Fair
The Dane, Chika and I recently went on an adventure to the Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, NC. This year is the 23rd year for this festival and next weekend (Nov 20th) is the last weekend until it rolls around next year in October. (But if you can’t wait that long, the Georgia Renaissance Festival starts up in April 2017).
Every year, The Dane and I joke that we are going to join in on the Cosplay, but so far, we haven’t done that yet.
The first year that we went, a Kissing Wench set her sights on The Dane. He ended up with a face full of lipstick kisses. After that, he happily looks forward to the kisses every year. He says that it’s the one time of the year that he’s allowed to get kisses from other women.
At one of our previous visits, a girl that we met talked a lot about the history of the Renaissance. It is very interesting, so I thought I’d share a little with you.
The Renaissance period falls between the 14th and 17th centuries at the end of the middle ages and before modern history.
Europe had just been plagued with the Black Death. A very dark time, where even doctors seemed sinister with their plague costumes – a heavy, waxed overcoat, a mask with glass eye openings and a beak shaped nose, and a cane. The long beak shape of the nose was stuffed with herbs, straw and spices because it was thought that the air was bad and these substances prevented the bad air for affecting the doctor. The cane was used to poke and prod so the doctor didn’t have to use his hands and come in direct contact with the sick patients. To give you some idea of the time frame, one of the famous plague doctors was Nostradamus. The advice he gave then is still good advice today – get fresh air and drink plenty of clean water.
The Renaissance period is considered a cultural movement. A movement away from thinking mostly about spiritual and afterlife to focusing on the living life. After so much thinking about death during the plague, it was time to try living again. The word renaissance means rebirth. This movement affected almost everything and will give you some idea of what was going on in all walks of life – literature: Dante – The Divine Comedy, Shakespeare, philosophy: humanism – reasoning and empirical evidence, art: Raphael, Da Vinci, Donatello, and Michelangelo, music: Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria and Byrd, politics: Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Charles V and Charles VIII, science: Galilei, Brahe, Kepler, and religion: Protestant Reformation [Martin Luther] and Counter-Reformation, John Calvin, Thomas More.
This movement also affected clothing and in particular head-wear. The type of head-wear often donated a person’s station in life. The more elaborate the head-wear, the higher the stature.
The lady that ran this hat shop told me that during this era, a married woman’s hair was legally considered property of her husband. She said that during the latter part of the Renaissance, the public display of hair was considered improper and disrespectful. Because of this, woman took to wearing high hats and bonnets when they were going to be out in public.
As we walked around the festival grounds, we encountered a number of people dressed in a variety of costumes (we even saw a few storm-troopers). My favorite part was watching the procession of the King and Queen to the jousting tournament and the fairy that plays the lute. All in all, for me, the festival is very magical. If you’ve never been to one, add it to your bucket list. It really is great fun!