Did You Know Christmas Used to be Banned in a New England State?
Christmas in New England is a special thing
It could be because of the weather we usually have in New England with the cold temperatures and snow-covered roads and yards, but generally when people think of Christmas, they think of a New England climate. Even in an interview with Jane Lynch last year, she said New England always makes her think of Christmas.
Which makes it hard to believe that Christmas was once banned in part of New England.
Massachusetts Banned Christmas back in the 1600s
Based on the wonky math they teach in school now, who knows if they still teach this bit of historical information, but we all know that back in 1620, the Pilgrims and Puritans sailed from England into what they settled as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. What's not common knowledge or taught in school, though, is the fact that they brought a sincere hatred for Christmas with them.
According to The History Channel, after the Puritans in England overthrew King Charles I in 1647, they declared that December 25 should be a day of "fasting and humiliation" instead of celebration. That trickled over to the Puritans of New England, who followed suit and banned Christmas in the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony on December 11, 1659.
Christmas was reinstated in England before Massachusetts
It's interesting that the ban on Christmas in England only lasted a year, as according to The History Channel, when the monarchy was reinstated back in 1660, so was the public celebration of Christmas. However, unlike back when the ban occurred in Massachusetts in the first place, the Puritans of New England didn't follow suit.
The law was repealed in 1861 and no one has looked back since.
Not until political pressure from King Charles II back in England did the Puritans consider repealing the law in Massachusetts. Interestingly enough, there are reports from The History Channel that nobody was ever really prosecuted for celebrating Christmas privately in their home during the ban -- it was more focused on preventing public disorders. The law was repealed in 1861 and no one has looked back since.
Good thing the Puritans are no more -- they'd hate the Christmas tree in Monument Square in Portland and Faneuil Hall in Boston (as well as other public places where Christmas trees are displayed for all to enjoy and embrace.)