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 Music

PHOTOS: Joe Cocker through the years

AP02072004165_46

A look back on the legendary career of the "Up Where We Belong" hitmaker.

in Music

Legendary rocker Joe Cocker dead at 70

cocker

The raspy-voiced, Grammy-winning "You Are So Beautiful" singer has lost his battle with lung cancer.

in Music

Chris Brown committed to finishing community service

chrisbrown

The singer has turned his community service into a full-time job for the next six weeks.

in Entertainment, Weird

New Jersey Christmas tree controlled by tweets

treetweet

Twitter users anywhere in the world can control the lights on this holiday display.