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

Jennifer Lawrence threatens action over nude photos

jlaw

Lawrence's representative has threatened to prosecute those behind a nude photo leak affecting dozens of A-list celebrities.

in Music

Rucker, Little Big Town to announce CMA nominees

littlebigtown

Darius Rucker and Little Big Town will announce the nominees for "The 48th Annual CMA Awards."

in Entertainment

Family of seriously ill Joan Rivers ‘keeping fingers crossed’

joan-melissa

Joan Rivers remains in serious condition after suffering cardiac arrest.

in Entertainment

Today’s celebrity birthdays

tomlin

These celebrities will celebrate their birthdays on Labor Day.

in Entertainment

This weekend’s celebrity birthdays

diaz

A look at the celebrities who will be celebrating this weekend.