ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • The Role of Religion in History & Society

How to Have a Puritan Christmas

Updated on December 7, 2012

Don't Celebrate

December 25 is a day that many people in America and around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is very unlikely from internal biblical evidence that Jesus actually came on December 25, but early Christians chose the date regardless. It actually fell close to pagan celebrations in the Roman era.

English Puritans actually banned the holiday. During the Interregnum between the execution of King Charles I and the Restoration of Charles II, the Puritans banned the holiday as having too close a relation to popish superstition. Instead of gift giving and merry making, the Puritans replaced Christmas feasts with a Christmas fast. Immoral and wasteful behavior related to holidays went against the Puritan work ethic, and anything associated with Catholicism was extremely suspect. It's a bit ironic that those who claim to be descendents of the Puritan ideology are now complaining about a war on Christmas when one of the earliest wars on Christmas was carried out by the Puritans.

If you're wanting to celebrate Christmas like the Puritans in early America celebrated Christmas, you should just go to work in most years. However, since this year's festivities fall on Sunday, the day that Puritans held as the Sabbath, you should go to church and refrain from doing any work or anything else that may take your mind off of religious duty on Christmas. The Puritans tied the idea of Christmas to paganism, and it's pretty easy to see that the greenery, Christmas trees, elves, and, yes, even Santa Claus have no part in the biblical Christmas story.

The Puritans in early America did not celebrate Christmas. Their descendent often did not celebrate Christmas. For a time in early New England, Christmas was basically banned and those who chose to live it up a bit found themselves owing a fine to the authorities for their misappropriation of time with such pagan folly. School in Boston actually continued in session on Christmas (unless a weekend) until the 1870s--which was after President Ulysses S. Grant made the holiday a national holiday. Those who skipped out on school for revelry during Christmas had some explaining to do after their return to school.

After the 1870s, the crackdown on Christmas slacked, and the holiday came to be more of a commercial phenomenon as is common now. Some scholars such as Laurence Moore argue that Christmas would not be an official holiday in America today without the commercial trappings of the day because of the separation of church and state. Looking at how unimportant the day seemed in early America, it is an interesting concept.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • cprice75 profile image
      Author

      cprice75 6 years ago from USA

      Although I don't think I'd want to hand out with John Winthrop for a lengthy period of time, I do think that the Puritans are pretty important in American history. If for nothing else, they birthed (and then expelled) people like Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson who helped lead to the concept of religious liberty. They were very radical for their day. The Pilgrims, on the other hand, are better known in popular culture while being much less significant in the grand scheme of things. You are probably right that many people hear more about Jesus at Christmas in spite of Santa Claus, Rudolph, and elves.

    • Freeway Flyer profile image

      Paul Swendson 6 years ago

      It's funny that all of the people who get so bent out of shape about the "commercialization" of Christmas fail to realize that this was not much of a religious holiday until fairly recently in history. If anything, Jesus probably gets as much publicity on Christmas now as at any time in history.

      If also find it funny that the Pilgrims and Puritans get celebrated much at all. They weren't exactly people that most of us would want to hang out with.

    • cprice75 profile image
      Author

      cprice75 6 years ago from USA

      You are qute welcome, Jeff. The reasoning is different, but the result is much the same.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 6 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Wow, looks like the war on Christmas is older than most of us thought! Thanks for the info, cprice!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)