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"Oh yea, Oh yea, fair maidens and kind gentles, gather round and lend me your ears, for today armies from the Kingdom of the East and the Middle Kingdom do meet in battle to preserve the honor of their sworn rulers." No,
you're not in Merry Olde England, but at an event of the Society for Creative Anachronism, (SCA) an organization that
regularly re-creates the Middle Ages
The SCA has been around since 1966. However, in Britain, Medieval and British Civil War recreation groups
have existed for a number of years prior to that time. SCA began in Berkeley, California, invented by a group of science fiction and fantasy fans who wanted to do a theme party. Following this apparently successful party, the group got together to discuss the idea of a Medieval re-creation and re-enactment group. The folks in California incorporated as a non-profit, educational society, and so it remains today. Since then more and more local chapters were added.
The scope of SCA has grown to include other countries such as New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Romania and
South Africa. In SCA, the "known world" consists of sixteen Kingdoms, each with a King and Queen, who rule by the right of arms.
In the SCA, members take on a persona, of an individual who might have lived during that time period. (Famous people who really did live, such as King Henry VIII, are not allowed) The persona could be as simple as just a name. Or, the persona could be more in-depth, with appropriate clothing and matching activities. But, at a minimum, most members at least select a name and a country of origin.
Many period activities are practiced by SCA members. Some of the more popular are fighting, fencing,
costuming, cooking, calligraphy, heraldry, music, dancing, and jousting to name a few. Anything done in the "true"
Middle Ages is recreated by someone, somewhere in SCA. Just how much members care to research and re-create is a
personal choice.
As an educational group, SCA is often called upon to do period demonstrations for school groups or other
organizations such as the Boy Scouts, summer camps, etc. In addition, SCA holds it's own internal events, primarily on the weekends. On any given weekend in the Spring, Summer and Fall, members will have their choice of events,
depending on how far they wish to drive.
SCA can be confused with regional Renaissance Faires which have become popular over the past ten years.
Although SCA members may participate, (they are sometimes hired as actors) these faires are generally organized for the public and staged for profit.
Newcomers to an SCA meeting or event are expected to wear period garb. Most local groups keep a few
pieces on hand as loaners, until new members get clothing of their own. SCA clothing need not be elaborate, something
as simple as a tunic will do.
Put "Society for Creative Anachronism" into any search engine and you will find a wealth of additional material about the organization.