Christmas Customs and the Puritans

In 1517 the Reformation arrived in England. Although many holiday customs continued for some time, well into Tudor times, but by the time of Cromwell, Christmas celebrations were prohibited, even in Churches.
This is another British custom that crossed the Atlantic. We know these people as the Puritans. William Bradford described the gloom in Plymouth Colony in his Journal of 1620. “On ye day called Christmas-day, ye Gov’r caled them out to work…but there should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets.”
In 1659 the Puritans enacted a law in the General Court of Massachusetts announcing that “anybody who is found observing, by abstinence from labor, feasting, or any other way, any such days as Christmas Day shall pay for every offense five shillings.
With the immigration of people who followed the Church of England, the law was repealed in 1681.
Why were they so opposed to Christmas festivities? Well, it was thought that the secular celebration interfered with religious devotion.


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