Harrowgate Banner Home Newcomers News Members Activities Officers Resources Contact Us

Step Four - My First Event

For many people, attending events is what makes the SCA such a fun and interesting hobby. People take on their persona’s, put on their garb and begin to relive the Middle Ages. At events, you will see fighter tournaments, classes in arts and sciences, dancing, games and socializing. Many events also have merchants that sell items that will fit into your period persona (clothing, dishes, arts and crafts etc).

While every event is different, most large events will have two things that form the core of the event.

At the majority of events, a court will be held by attending royalty (if they are present). This is where awards are given out, where the business of the realm is conducted and represents the pageantry that you would imagine from a court in the Middle Ages.

Some basic tips about Court:

  • Court begins with the Royalty processing in. When the procession starts, you are expected to stand. As the Royalty process in front of you, you are expected to bow or curtsey.
  • While court is going on, if you are in the audience, you are expected to listen quietly, same as if you were watching a play in the theatre.
  • There will be times when clapping and cheering is called for. These times are hard to miss, because everyone else will be doing it - loudly! So feel free to join in. The cheer that you hear everyone yelling is "Wassail". This is SCAdian for "Hurrah".
  • If you are called up into court (very unlikely at your first event, but if you stick around in the SCA, it will eventually happen), you should first make sure you are not bearing any blade longer than your forearm (i.e. anything more serious than a belt knife). If you are, remove all such weapons and set them down in your chair before going up. Then, when you are about five to ten feet away from the Royalty, bow or curtsey. After that, walk up before the Royalty and kneel, while you listen to what they have to say (it's very easy to know where you're supposed to kneel because there will usually be cushions there for the purpose). When the Royalty is done and you are dismissed, get up, bow or curtsey again, and then walk back to your seat.
  • When court is ended, the Royalty will process back out. When this happens, you are once again expected to rise, and to bow or curtsey as the Royalty pass by you.

The other important aspect of many events is the feast. Not all events have a feast, but when a feast is done right it can be the most memorable part of an event. The organizers will prepare a period feast using dishes that might have been eaten at a similar event in the Middle Ages. Unlike at a normal meal, most feasts are brought out on serving dishes and guests are expected to bring their own feast gear (period looking plates, bowls and cutlery).

Here are some useful links about attending an SCA event:

SCA Events 101
Everything you always wanted to know about an SCA event, but were afraid to ask!!!

Speaking Scadian
When you are first introduced to the SCA and go to your first event, there are going to be terms and language flying around that you'd swear were written by a monkey on a typewriter... at least the monkey understood what it was talking about. Lucky monkey. As a newcomer it may become frustrating and confusing to have no clue what we're talking about; this will give you a heads up into our crazy lexis!

The Dictionary of SCA Slang
The Very Big Book of SCA Jargon!

Practical Tips for the SCA (link broken. request sent to author for new link, Mar 26, 2011)
Compiled by Lady Beatrix zum Dunklenturm of Cynagua from a discussion on The Rialto, the SCA Usenet newsgroup. Many excellent tips for newcomers and old-timers alike. The focus is on camping tips, but there are also many practical tips for enjoying life in the SCA in general.