With Valentines day quick approaching, I thought it was a great time to discuss favors.
No one knows where the “belt” favors so common seen in the SCA first started, but they are not historically accurate. In various times in our period, people would wear items to show allegiance to a fighting group/liege lord/Kingdom/ext but those were usually tabards, sashes, and the like and they would never have shown dual allegiance ( like we do to various households, kingdoms, ext.). A friend posted it best when he implied people with numerous favors have a tendency to resemble nascar cars. Nothing ruins a good piece of garb than a collection of belt favors.
When it comes to personal favors ( given from one person to another without allegiance attached) those also have some historical accuracy. The documentation we do have of ladies giving favors to fighter either before fighting, when they go off to war, or as a price for winning a fight usually comes from the early to High Middle Ages. Almost always the item was incredibly personalized ( something they made, or a part of their garment).
Personally I think it is amazing to watch a consort (male or female) bestow a very personalized token on their fighter ( or whomever holds their honor). I think it adds a level of theatrics to our society which helps glorifies the High Middle Age ideal of Chivalry and Courtly Love.
I posted the idea on my facebook page and the responses were to numerous and amazing to not share. Below are all the responses of what people have given or received ( duplicates of some items as some people received like items). Hopefully some of these will give you some inspiration
- A lady’s tippet from her sleeve.
- A personal coif to be worn on their belt.
- A bit of hair from each member of my family sewn into patch on the inside of their gambeson, to rest over the heart.
- A pair of detachable sleeves from a late 15th century kirtle
- A lock of my hair sewn down to a piece of silk
- Arm sash favors with their device
- Garters that match various aprons.
- A wool pouch or something representative of Norse culture to wear.
- Fabric torn from the hem of her dress.
- A glove
- Handwoven cotton/wool trim.
- A wash rag with a teddy bear face. ( cool story attached)
- Handmade paternoster
- An embroidered standard belt flap as a fighting favor which also holds cards for the marshal table.
- A personal scarf worn under their white scarf that is personally tied on by the giver.
- A beaded tassle that hangs from the household belt badge.
- Embroidered belt favor with their personal device
- Gloves and sleeves.
- Detachable sleeves, with a Crowned Initial pin attached. ( Another cool story)
- Knit garter.
- Tabletwoven band
My favorite quote (the only one not edited down for space), came from my Laurel-
“I gave him two favors that chase him and talk his ear off.”
Yes, further research will be done on this topic, as it was incredibly hard to find documentation on favors- however I look at this as more of a challenge. Look for a class coming soon.
In the meantime, I would highly encourage people to think of other options for favors other than the common belt favor.
- On the Giving of Favors & Tokens compiled by Baron Modar Neznanich
- Favors by Dame Margarete of Stirlingshire,OP
- Period Favors on Stefan’s Florilegium Archive
- The History of Favors and Their Place in the SCA Society Today. By Lady Taysia della Vuenta