The Lord, or King of Misrule was a traditional Christmas official in Medieval England. The Lord was a peasant chosen by lottery.

Suit Up
A paper crown and variegated clothing were worn in mockery of royal attire.

Location, Location, Location.
A Lord of Misrule was typically appointed at the court, houses of prominent noblemen, law schools, and universities.

What's your function?
This office was given complete secular power, even over the reigning monarch/s. The temporary role reversal present in this system is akin to the Saturnalia practice of masters and slaves exchanging positions. However, this control was limited by the Lord's good sense to avoid being punished ex post facto, and primarily used for comic effect.

As well as having near total control, the Lord was charged with arranging and directing all local Christmas jollification.

Besides these responsibilities, the Lord and his concomitant entourage provided satiric, sometimes bawdy entertainment.

Subordinates
The entourage of the Lord could be anything from a mock royal court to an outfit of mummers (performers that dressed up in drag and masks, providing chaotic fun and skits).

Here Comes the Reign Again
A Lord of Misrule held office generally either for the Twelve Days of Christmas, or from All Hallow's Eve unitl the Feast of Purification (approximately three months).

Meme
The Abbot of Unreason and the Boy Bishop are two related Christmas offices. The Abbot was the Scottish version, whereas the Boy Bishop fulfilled the role in choir schools.

Supressor In Action
Assignment of the King of Misrule began in the late Medieval period, and ended after the death of King Edward the Sixth in 1553 due to Puritanical supression. Likewise, the Abbot of Unreason was abolished in 1555.

Time Capsule
The last residual marker of the Lord of Misrule is the paper crown found in Christmas crackers.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.