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 Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Daniel Radcliffe ‘raps’ the alphabet

Fresh
17-overlay3

The "Harry Potter" star performs the tongue-twisting "Alphabet Aerobics" and it's hilarious.

in Music

Phil Collins: Genesis reunion will ‘never’ happen

Fresh
philcollins

Phil Collins has ruled out a reunion of the classic Genesis line-up because he can never play the drums again.

in Music

Chris Brown settles two lawsuits

Fresh
chrisbrown

The R&B singer has settled two civil suits stemming from separate altercations last year.

in Entertainment

Mary-Kate Olsen is a married woman

Fresh
marykateolsen

The former "Full House" star has reportedly married her longtime boyfriend.