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December 12, 2006 at 4:31 am #451
I found this interesting tidbit:
In England, Christmas was forbidden by Act of Parliament in 1644; the day was to be a fast and a market day; shops were compelled to be open; plum puddings and mince pies condemned as heathen. The conservatives resisted; at Canterbury blood was shed; but after the Restoration Dissenters continued to call Yuletide "Fooltide".
I searched the internet to see if I could find exactly what this 1644 act said in regard to Christmas. At first I found where Parliament passed it, thanks to a scan of the original 1802 House of Lords Journal (in the bottom right column where it talks about "taking away the book of Common Prayer"). Then I found a copy of the Act wording itself where it only says the following:
Touching Days and Places for Publick Worship.THERE is no day commanded in scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath.Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.
I'm guessing this took place under Oliver Cromwell's watch, as suggested by the title of the abstract of a paper which discusses this removal of the Book of Common Prayer entitled "Oliver Cromwell?The Grinch That Stole Christmas" ("Until authenticated, one of the most obvious examples of apparently apocryphal, but obviously pathological legislation is that which outlawed the celebration of Christmas in England....").December 12, 2006 at 5:58 am #7460
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I'd say Cromwell's popularity took a nose dive after he endorsed such edicts. Cromwell was such an enigma in British history. It's hard to get a handle on him.December 14, 2006 at 5:25 am #7461
I guess I forgot to address the reason why Christmas was outlawed. Was it because it was associated too much with Catholicism? From what I recall the Puritans or Pilgrims in the American colonies didn't celebrate Halloween because it was associated with Saints and therefore too much with Catholicism. Perhaps Christmas was viewed along theological lines as well, although the connection to a distinct line of Christianity is not so clear.December 14, 2006 at 7:21 am #7462
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In the recent Mayflower special the mentioned that the pilgrims did not Celebrate because of all the connections with pagan worship.December 24, 2006 at 3:39 am #7463
In the recent Mayflower special the mentioned that the pilgrims did not Celebrate because of all the connections with pagan worship.
I believe what you are referring to was the celebration of Halloween, rather than Christmas. They might have thought it too pagan, and I do recall a show saying that the connection between Halloween and All Saints Day was a Catholic celebration, so it was one they did not partake in.On another note, I mentioned earlier that Christmas was outlawed by an Act in 1644. But upon reviewing the lyrics to an English Christmas song ("The old year now away is fled") I see that it comes from 1642. It's interesting that such a song would have survived to this day during a period of Christmas suppression.December 24, 2006 at 3:42 am #7464
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Did Cromwell institute something to replace Christmas? I'm not up on this area of British History so I'd have to look all this up. 🙁December 25, 2006 at 5:54 am #7465
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No, they did not celebrate Christmas for the above stated reasons as well as the fact that they could not pin down the date of Christs birth.April 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm #7466
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I would imagine this no Christmas act was a Puritan influenced thing. Since they were quite anti-royalist it would make sense that Cromwell allied himself with them. Cromwell is quite an interesting historical figure in this period of English history.December 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm #57648
Following up what Skiguy said, and having re-read this thread, it does seem likely that it was Puritan influenced. By around this time, Christmas became something of a partytime, so it would not be surprising that certain government officials would have wanted to crack down on it. There must have been a time when it became legal once again, but I believe it wasn’t until the Victorian age that the holiday became something of the cultural festival that we experience around the world today.
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