Friday, December 18, 2015

The War on Christmas

Today, December 18, marks the day in 1620 when the Mayflower arrived in modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers prepared to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.

I know this because Facebook told me.

Actually Facebook told me that the Mayflower "docked" at Plymouth in 1620. But I don't think that can be correct. Who was there to build a "dock" for them? Surely the Native Americans didn't waste their time building a nice big dock on the off-chance that 130 refugees from Europe might need it one day?

Anyway, the Pilgrims arrived a week before their first Christmas in America which apparently passed uneventfully.

But some of the folk on the Mayflower were Puritans. The Puritans didn't really like Christmas. There was too much drinking and feasting and playing games and "wassailing" (whatever that is) for their liking.

On the second Christmas in the New World, the governor of the colony, William Bradford (who sounds like a bit of a sourpuss to me) told the colonists they had to work all day. Some newly arrived migrants from England didn't like that idea and the governor was appalled when he found them reveling in the street.  Governor Bradford was not a fan of reveling, especially on Christmas Day.

Governor William Bradford
Anti-Reveling Party - Massachusetts

Anyway, to cut a long story short, a few years later in 1859 the General Court of the colony banned the celebration of Christmas. Absolutely no Compotations, no Interludes, no Playing at Cards, no Revellings, and certainly no Mad Mirth was to be allowed. And if you got caught enjoying a bit of mirth on Christmas Day you could be fined five shillings which was a lot of money in those days.

Thus began the war on Christmas which according to Fox News is still rumbling on today.

Actually, the law banning the celebration of Christmas in Massachusetts was revoked by an English-appointed governor in 1681, which is just as well because four of my grandchildren now live in Massachusetts and it would be really sad if they weren't allowed to enjoy a traditional Christmas.


JP said...

And they wassail still in old London town:

Tillerman said...

There's nothing wrong with wassailing. I was sailing quite a lot when I was in the BVI earlier this month.

George A said...

While you're at it, how 'bout roasting a few choirs of barking dogs?

Tillerman said...

Oh George. How could you be so mean? And at Christmas too!

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