Christmas with the Pilgrims, America’s earliest Christians

by November 22, 20141 comment

The Pilgrims considered Christmas an abomination

The Pilgrims — the people we celebrate each Thanksgiving, who came to America on the Mayflower, signed the Mayflower Compact and founded Plymouth Colony — were Protestant Christians called Puritans.

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

Note: From the Preface of Rev. Mather’s essay, it seems clear that he also would not have enjoyed Broadway.