"[This] created a world of regularly scheduled festivity that is almost beyond our imagining today. The Church calendar featured dozens of holy days - including Epiphany, Ascension, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi, as well as the more familiar Easter and Christmas - on which all work was forbidden, and on most of which various celebration was tolerated. In fifteenth century France, for example, one out of every four days of the year was an official holiday of some sort, usually dedicated to a mix of religious ceremonies and more or less unsanctioned carryings-on. ... Despite the reputation of what are commonly called "the Middle Ages" as a time of misery and fear, the period from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century can be seen - at least in comparison to the puritanical times that followed - as one long outdoor party, punctuated by bouts of hard labour.
"... Great passion and energy went into the planning of festivities, with special organizations, like the French confraternities of young men, dedicated entirely to preparations year-round." Dancing in the Streets, p91-4
pic from turningwheel