Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Fools, The Feast of, was a medieeval semi-Christian survival of the Pagan Saturnalia of ancient Rome. The Church authorities at first strenuously opposed it, but with so little success that the observance came to have something of a religious character. Thus, the scene of action was generally a church, in which the travesty of an election of a Pope, cardinal, or other ecclesiastical dignity, calling himself "Pope of Fools," "Boy Bishop," "Abbot of Unreason," or the like, would take place. Sometimes even a mock celebration of the mass was enacted; and sometimes an ass would be led up to the altar to the strains of a hymn. In this case the name "Feast of Asses" was given to the grotesque proceedings. The Reformation, it would be thought, would have made short work of such observances, but at Antibes, near Nice, the Feast of Fools was observed so late as the year 1644. The authority on the subject is Du Tillist: Memoires pour servir a I'histoire de la Fete des Foux, 1741.