News

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

CHRISTMAS IN COLONIAL TIMES: The festivities weren't always so bright in early America. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas in America has become a mixture of both secular and religious themes, a time of joy, gratitude and celebration.

But in Colonial times, it was a different story.

Surprisingly little is known about how early Americans celebrated Christmas.

That’s because historians of the day spent their time chronicling politics and wars, not holidays.

But it is known that the early settlers of Virginia, Maryland and Georgia brought English customs with them, while in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the traditions of Holland, Sweden and Germany were carried on.

In New England, Christmas was long frowned upon. The Puritans associated it with the Church of England and the old-world customs they were escaping, including feasting, drinking and playing games.

Christmas and other holiday celebrations were banned in Massachusetts from 1659 until 1681. A law was passed declaring that anyone who observed a holiday would be fined five shillings.

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Alabama, in 1836.

Recent Headlines

38 mins ago in Music

Prince was to meet with doctor for painkiller addiction

Fresh
U.S. singer Prince leaves the French Open tennis tournament in Paris June 2,  2014. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/Files

The body of music superstar Prince was found one day before a doctor was to meet him to help end an addiction to pain killers, according to news reports.

2 hours ago in Viral Videos

This ‘Game of Thrones’ inspired Mother’s Day gift is sure to be a hit

Fresh
24-overlay-1

Still looking for a last minute gift for mom? Jimmy Kimmel has got you covered.

2 hours ago in Music

Roger Daltrey gets his own bubbly

rogerdaltrey386399512082

The Who frontman is releasing his own brand of champagne.

6 hours ago in Entertainment

Dan Aykroyd adapting ‘Blues Brothers’ for animated series

danaykroyd391647313397

The animated project will also feature the band's original songs, as well as soul and blues classics, and new material recorded specially for the series, which Aykroyd will help to develop alongside "Saturday Night Live" writer Anne Beatts.

6 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Frozen’ fans want Queen Elsa to ‘come out’

21-overlay-2

Fans are urging movie executives to make the film's snow queen Elsa a lesbian in the sequel.