Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Countdown, Traditions and Trivia Day Twelve

Hello Friends!

Here is today's Advent calendar image and scripture ~~~

A peculiarly British Christmas tradition is that of Pantomime, or affectionately called 'panto'. It is a centuries old form of entertainment having evolved over time from the Mummers play of the Middle Ages by way of the Commedia dell arte but is now a genre of entertainment all of it's own. It is a stage production of humorous family entertainment based on fairy tales and stories performed in dialogue along with plenty of slapstick comedy, gags, music, song and dance.  The stories are based on fairy tales and are written to include topical material of the day, cross dressing characters, with plenty of humour and audience participation with singalongs, and interaction with the characters through use of well known phrases.

Some popular panto productions include:
Aladdin; Jack and the Beanstalk; Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; Cinderella; Dick Whittington; Puss in Boots; Mother Goose; and Babes in the Wood.

The conventions of panto include:
Cross dressing ~the male lead is played by a woman
                       ~the pantomime dame is played by a man in gaudy drag.
Audience participation phrases~ such as "he's behind you!" or "oh! no he isn't ~ oh! yes he is!" and the audience is encouraged to hiss and boo at the villain.
Lyrics to popular songs rewritten and adapted to the script and to include references to topical anecdotes and news.
The Good Fairy should always enter stage right and the Villain from stage left.
An animal, usually a panto horse played by two people in costume, one at the front one at the back.
Slapstick comedy routines
Risqué jokes and double entendre which, in theory, is aimed at the adults and not comprehended by children in the audience.

Many famous celebrities appear in panto in towns and cities all over the UK and it is a popular event for many local amateur dramatic troupes too.
Call me a spoil sport or a Grumpy Old Woman, but I have never cared much for panto.
As I shared with you yesterday, the first of the Icelandic Yuletide Lads arrives in the villages and farmsteads across Iceland tonight and is called "Sheep-Cote Clod" also known as "Stekkjastaur" in Icelandic.  He has wooden legs, so is also called "Peg Leg".  He sneaks into the sheepfolds where he harasses the sheep and drinks the ewes' milk.  Arriving tonight, the 12th December, he is also the first Lad to return to the mountains on December 25th.

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo


  1. I never liked panto as a child - I couldn't see where the slapstick fitted into the story and it offended my sense of getting it right.

    1. I disliked it too and have sat squirming at times when going was unavoidable. It is an integral part of our culture and that's why I've included it.

  2. Sounds quite odd to me, Deb! What an unusual Christmas tradition. There is always something for everyone. This would not be for me.
    The peg leg lad is also quite different for Christmas. The evolution of traditions is interesting and I am enjoying reading your posts. Happy evening! ♥

    1. I've had to endure three or four pantos in my time and suffered unbelievable. I cannot express strongly enough how much I dislike this tradition! I'm turning into the Grinch! lol
      ~~~Deb xoxo

  3. It sounds like the old Vaudeville from here in the 1920's or so. Never thought about it for Christmas, tho. Well, to each his own, eh?

    Love and hugs,

    1. I shall have to check out Vaudeville. The only other entertainment I'm familiar with is Music Hall from the Victorian era.
      ~~~much love, Deb xoxo


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