Liturgical Dramas and Mysteries

At the origin of liturgical dramas are tropes of which remnants remain in XIth and XIIth century manuscripts called tropiaries.
These dramas were inspired by Bible stories about the adoration of the shepherds or the procession of the Wise Men. As the presentations grew in scale, their character became too profane for the Church, which banned performances first in churches, then in 1548 in Paris, eventually forbidding them throughout France in 1677.

In taking on its secular character, the religious drama became a mystery. As a result of the ban, carols in French or in regional languages sprang up as well as pastorals which, until the end of the XIXth century, were the most popular expression of Christmas celebrations. The ban also resulted in the disappearance of church crèches.