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

51 minutes ago in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: April 23

Fresh
elvis2

A look at the Hollywood headlines of years past.

yesterday in Entertainment

Alicia Silverstone courts controversy in new book for moms

alicia

The clueless star criticizes everything from vaccination to potty-training. Her methods may surprise you.

yesterday in Entertainment

It’s going to cost more to watch ‘Orange is the New Black’

netflix

Get ready because Netflix is raising its prices so "House of Cards" is going to cost more too.

yesterday in Entertainment

Bill Cosby to be honored at American Comedy Awards

cosby

Veteran funnyman Bill Cosby is set to receive the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence.

yesterday in Music, Entertainment

‘American Dad’ will be family affair for the Thickes

robinthicke

The R&B singer joins his "Growing Pains" dad on an upcoming episode.