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

in Entertainment

Lena Dunham and Kate Mara hit by a falling sign

Fresh
Lena Dunham, of HBO's "Girls," arrives at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards held at The Nokia Theatre  in Los Angeles.

The "Girls" and "House of Cards" actresses saw stars of their own after an accident at a Venice premiere.

in Entertainment

Charges dropped against Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s suspected drug dealer

In this Jan. 19, 2014 photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The GenArt Quaker Good Energy Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in "Capote," was found dead Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in his New York apartment. He was 46.

Drug-selling charges against a friend of late film star Philip Seymour Hoffman have been dropped after officers neglected to read the suspect his Miranda rights.

in Entertainment

Hayao Miyazaki, Harry Belafonte among winners of honorary Oscars

"Ponyo" director Hayao Miyazaki poses for a portrait in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 28, 2009.

The Academy announces the recipients of this year's Governors Awards. See who made the list!

in Entertainment

Robert Downey, Jr. calls ‘Guardians’ the best Marvel movie ever

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Robert Downey Jr. stars as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark aka Iron Man in the film, “Iron Man.”** NO SALES **

Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr. flies past his own ego with claims that this summer's "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the Marvel movie to beat.