All Christmas activities, including dancing, seasonal plays, games, singing carols, cheerful celebration and especially drinking were banned by the Puritan-dominated Parliament of England in 1644, with the Puritans of New England following suit.
Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and the Plymouth colony made celebrating Christmas a criminal offense, according to “Once Upon a Gospel”The Puritans of New England then passed a series of laws making any observance of Christmas illegal, thus banning Christmascelebrations for part of the 17th century. A Massachusetts law of 1659 punished offenders with a hefty five shilling fine.
In England, the ban on the holiday was lifted in 1660, when Charles II took over the throne. However, the Puritan presence remained in New England and Christmas did not become a legal holiday there until 1856. Even then, some schools continued to hold classes on December 25 until 1870.
The upper classes in ancient Rome celebrated Dec. 25 as the birthday of the sun god Mithra. The date fell right in the middle of Saturnalia, a monthlong holiday dedicated to food, drink, and revelry, and Pope Julius I is said to have chosen that day to celebrate Christ’s birth as a way of co-opting the pagan rituals. Beyond that, the Puritans considered it historically inaccurate to place the Messiah’s arrival on Dec. 25. They thought Jesus had been born sometime in September…
After the Civil War, America needed a lift.
Christmas Day was formally declared a federal holiday by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870.
….the rest? Was…history.
Commercialism took its course.. Krampus came back en vogue.. and Santa Claus’ time traveling ways would not get him locked up in a slammer anymore.
All is right with the world.
So yes. INDEED. There WAS a war on Christmas. And Starbucks cups weren’t involved.
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