Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Question from Julia - Posies during Lent

Posies for medicinal purposes permitted in Lent?

I'm trying to describe a scene in a sickroom in 1545, and had understood that posies and pomanders were commonly held in front of the nose and mouth to keep smells at bay, as they were thought to be a source of infection. I think I read somewhere that a sickroom would have quite a lot of flowers, to try and make it sweet smelling for the same reason.

However, I was wondering whether a household would be permitted to have vases of flowers or posies in a sickroom during Lent. I know that even today churches don't have flowers during Lent, so it seems likely they may have banned all flowers in houses during Lent. If vases of flowers weren't allowed, were posies permitted for medicinal purposes? Or might a visitor to the patient resort to a pomander at this time of year?

Thanks for any pointers!

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