Just as revelers at Mardi Gras celebrations go wild and crazy before observing the somber season of Lent, so too did young men entering the priesthood during the Middle Ages. Ancient documents of the time give colorful accounts of men having wild parties in order to “get sins out of their system” before devoting themselves to life in a monastery.
The most famous examples of these writings come from the Carmina burana, and we are all very familiar with Carl Orff’s musical setting of these texts. The texts from this codex were written by Goliards, clerical students studying in monasteries who satirized the Church in their writings. These two excerpts from Orff’s setting we just played depicts a group of revelers who recite a VERY long list of people from all walks of society who come to drink and celebrate with them in the local tavern.