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

1 min ago in National

U.S. cracks down on e-cigarettes and cigars, bans sales to minors

Fresh
vapingREUTERS

The U.S. government took wide-ranging steps to crack down for the first time on e-cigarettes and cigars, growing in popularity among teens, and banned sales to anyone under age 18 in hopes of sparing a new generation from nicotine addiction.

5 mins ago in National

Senators urge regulators to ID vehicles with possible faulty Takata air bags

Fresh
takata

Two U.S. Senators urged auto safety regulators to publicly name the makes and models of tens of millions of vehicles with potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators, according to a letter made public late on Thursday.

8 mins ago in Sports

For Derby hopefuls, owning horse like owning team

Fresh
derbyREUTERS

For many racehorse owners, it's the experience, more so than making money, that attracted them to the Sport of Kings but they face a tough task to get into the elite field for events like the Kentucky Derby.

11 mins ago in Sports

Paterno’s son: Supposed 1976 allegation vs. father is ‘bunk’

Fresh
joepa16127363890593

Joe Paterno's son says an allegation made by insurers that a boy told the longtime Penn State football coach in 1976 that he had been molested by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is "bunk."

16 mins ago in National

Chagrined anti-Trump Republicans seek to recruit third-party candidate

Fresh
11-overlay-3

Donald Trump's emergence as the last man standing in the Republican presidential race has prompted his critics inside the party to intensify their search for a candidate they could back as a serious third-party alternative.