Thursday, March 24, 2016

Religion or no?

This blog post is about religion in Medieval times and it's contents are not the sole view of the author's and are primarily for discussion purposes.


I'll have less religion in my story, please...

Being a medieval writer, I (as well as many of my author friends), want to be as accurate as we can with character traits, settings, dress, politics, and especially with religion.

Imagine, it's the 13 or 1400's and almost everyone is pious. People from serfs all the way to the Lord of the land, and the clergy are all extremely pious. Even warriors and mercenaries stuck by regimented religious rituals.

It was a time when religion was a very serious matter. If a person didn't practice or follow the religion it could very well mean their heads. Although many people in Ireland, Britain, and Scotland continued to practice many old customs in conjunction with the newer Catholic religion rites. Those who followed the old religion had to do so in secret lest they be held for treason and likely executed.

In my opinion, I feel that many of the leaders of that time used religion to scare and keep those beneath them in line. It also helped to further their rule/leadership when certain laws were followed and those leaders had the benefit of being feared.

I suppose some of these religious philosophies are still be enacted today. Fear, using religion to invoke leaders and subjugate, etc. How sad it is that people cannot follow their hearts when it comes to beliefs. Today, religion, it seems is being segregated by age groups. For example, many of the youth follow no religion at all, while middle-aged people do practice, but with limitations. Older people still hold onto old beliefs and are much more pious than the younger people.

Time has changed, and religion is still there in the forefront of people's lives whether they believe or not.

When it comes to writing religion in Medieval times, I like to flavor my stories with just enough religion to set the tone of the time period, but not too much to detract the reader from the story. Let's be honest, if we wrote a person's daily life into our stories, we'd have five-thousand pages... And how boring would they be. Some people went to church every single day and many prayed up to five times a day. Let's just imagine for time-saving sake that you know this and writers can skip over that part of their lives.

This weekend, we celebrate Good Friday and Easter. Back in the 13/14th centuries people lit candles (these were used to denote light from dark through resurrection.) They also attended the service of lessons called "the prophecies", and performed the sacrament of baptism (this sacrament was only performed once a year, during Easter).

Decorating eggs goes back as far as the 13th century. We can assume the egg tradition likely came from a pagan festival. For Christians, it represents Jesus' resurrection. Eggs were a taboo food during lent, and people would decorate them and eat them when let was over.

The 13th century was a major stepping stone to accepting Christianity for many medieval folk. It had to be an exciting, yet inquisitive time for people as they explored their beliefs and gave much meaning to their lives. Either that, or they were too fearful and decided their lives meant more than following their pagan traditions. How sad for them.

Whatever your take or participation in religion, do you mind if it's mentioned in fiction (even if it's not the prominent part of the story)?

Do you wish authors would make their characters more religious and in line with the time period? Or would you rather it be omitted completely?

I really hope you comment even if it's anonymously. Your view means something and would never be ridiculed or refuted. Everyone has their own opinion, and that is a cherished thing.

Wishing (if you celebrate) a wonderful Easter filled with love of family, peace, and joy.

Everyone else, have a wonderful weekend!


Kara Griffin

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