Sunday, June 20, 2010

What are some Social customs of the Renaissance?

Pretty self explanatory, doing a group project at school and this is what i need to research. I've got a couple marriage customs and the Palio custom of Italy but i need another. Any help is appreciated!

Answer on What are some Social customs of the Renaissance?

Daily life during the European Renaissance reflected the great changes in politics, learning, religion and art.

Interest in the European Renaissance continues to fascinate people. It was a time of huge social, economic and intellectual growth in Europe. All of these changes are reflected to some degree through the social customs of the time. Historical costumes, daily life, even the foods people ate, were a reflection of the changing times.

Renaissance courtship, betrothal and weddings were unique during the European Renaissance. The main of goal of a Renaissance marriage was to produce children.

The very rich (nobles and royalty) generally married to better their families social standing, and increase the family’s coffers. Everyone else, from merchants to peasants, usually married for love, or at least compatibility.

A typical Renaissance family consisted of parents and their children. It is traditionally assumed that people of the Renaissance married early. This is because nobility did indeed marry early. However, most common folks married in their mid twenties. Since the average life expectancy was 40, few people made it to grandparent status.

The Sixteenth Century (1500s) was a time of great change for women’s Renaissance fashion. While Renaissance fashion tends varied in different countries (just like today’s fashion trends) there are some commonalities between all areas of Western Europe. Renaissance women's clothing is defined by regions and time periods. The historical costumes of Western Europe during the Renaissance are beautiful and richly detailed. Fashion accessories of the Sixteenth Century were almost as important as the clothing itself. Hoods, ruffs, wigs and cosmetics all came onto the scene during the 1500s.

By today’s standards, Renaissance table manners were somewhat…lacking, to say the least. As in Medieval times, diners shared communal dishes, digging in (literally) with their hands. There were no serving utensils, and no silverware. What we think of as “fine manners” (eating with a fork, no burping at the table) did not become fashionable until the 1600s. Those who did exert some type of dining etiquette could expect to be labeled a pretentious snob.

Early Renaissance foods were largely left over from the Middle Ages, until the discovery of the Americas in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Soon new foods began trickling into Renaissance kitchens, beginning with the nobility and eventually finding its way into the homes of merchants, farmers and peasant. Certain crops, like the potato and corn, revolutionized European farming. Other foods, such as the tomato, were viewed with suspicion, even fear, and were not eaten on a regular basis for another two centuries!