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 Viral Videos

WATCH: Justin Bieber’s boxing lessons

25-overlay3

The pop star is reportedly taking boxing lessons from Floyd Mayweather ... and Conan O'Brien has the footage.

in Viral Videos

The most epic safety video ever made

23-overlay2

New Zealand knows why you want to visit, and they're playing along.

in Music

Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige to perform at AMAs

samsmith

The breakthrough newcomers 5 Seconds of Summer will also take the stage at next month's American Music Awards.

in Music

U2’s ‘free’ iTunes album stumbles in stores

u2

U2's controversial free album on Apple's iTunes had a less than stellar performance once released for commercial sale.

in Viral Videos

Spooky ‘Shining’ inspired IKEA commercial

17-overlay2

You'll never aimlessly wander the floors of IKEA the same way again.