Laughing Jesters in Panama

As I mentioned in a recent post, the Municipality of Panama has decorated the Coastal Strip with themes to entertain the family; specially young children.  The name of the project is Villas Navideñas, although many of the subjects have nothing to do with Christmas, but you know how rational we are in this part of the world.

Yesterday I posted some pictures of the white rabbit of Alice in Wonderland.  Today I have a couple of pictures of jolly looking jesters.  I liked their clothing and their good humor.  I guess that’s why there were contracted for—to make people laugh.

Photograph of three jesters located at the Villas Navideñas on the Coastal Strip in Panama City, Panama. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

A jester, joker, jokester, fool, wit-cracker, prankster or buffoon was a person employed to tell jokes and provide general entertainment, typically by a European monarch. Jesters are stereotypically thought to have worn brightly colored clothes and eccentric hats in a motley pattern. Their hats were especially distinctive; made of cloth, they were floppy with three points, each of which had a jingle bell at the end. The three points of the hat represent the donkey’s ears and tail worn by jesters in earlier times. Other things distinctive about the jester were his laughter and his mock sceptre, known as a bauble or marotte.

Photograph of several jesters producing their laughter acts. Take notice of the royal crown which they mocked during their performances. When their humor went too far, they were often imprisoned by the offended monarch. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

In ancient times courts employed fools and by the Middle Ages the jester was a familiar figure. In Renaissance times, aristocratic households in Britain employed licensed fools or jesters, who sometimes dressed as other servants were dressed, but generally wore a motley (i.e. parti-colored) coat, hood with ass’s (i.e. donkey) ears or a red-flannel coxcomb and bells.

Regarded as pets or mascots, they served not simply to amuse but to criticise their master or mistress and their guests. Queen Elizabeth is said to have rebuked one of her fools for being insufficiently severe with her. Excessive behaviour, however, could lead to a fool being whipped, as Lear threatens to whip his fool.

And now you know a little bit more about jesters.  Good Day.

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