Christmas with the Pilgrims, America’s earliest Christians
The Pilgrims considered Christmas an abomination
The Puritans considered Christmas to be idolatry. They felt very strongly that Christmas was a hijacked pagan Roman festival, and they called it “Foolstide.” The Puritans contended that the actual calendar date of Jesus’s birth can never be determined, and that God meant it to stay unknown.
Puritan minister Increase Mather insisted that Christ must be taken out of Christmas. Rev. Mather wrote that “The very name of Christmass savours of superstition.” As a Protestant opposed to Roman Catholic ways, he asked:
Why should Protestants own any thing which has the name of Mass in it? How unsuitable is it to join Christ and Mass together? i.e., Christ and Antichrist.
The Puritans purged Christmas from their almanacs. Rather than take the day off as a holiday, they worked like it was any other day, and built their first structure in the New World on Christmas Day.
The Puritans even passed laws making Christmas celebrations illegal, and punishable by stiff fines.
More about Pilgrims, Puritans, and Christmas
- Wikipedia: Christmas in Puritan New England
- The (Atlantic) Wire, December 11, 2013: The Puritan War on Christmas Was the Best War on Christmas, by Abby Ohlheiser
- History of Christmas in America: ‘The Battle for Christmas’ — my review of Stephen Nissenbaum’s excellent book
- Chapter III of A Testimony Against several Prophane and Superstitious Customs, by Increase Mather (1687)
Note: From the Preface of Rev. Mather’s essay, it seems clear that he also would not have enjoyed Broadway.