A Charles Dickens Classic and Why there were those who would not celebrate Christmas

There was a time when certain puritan and some other Christian sects would not celebrate Christmas and it was even banned in New England up until the end of the 19th century. It was also banned in England for a brief time as well. It was considered decadent to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a frivolous manner.

So their objections were theological?
Not exclusively. The main reason Puritans didn’t like Christmas was that it was a raucously popular holiday in late medieval England. Each year, rich landowners would throw open their doors to the poor and give them food and drink as an act of charity. The poorest man in the parish was named the “Lord of Misrule,” and the rich would wait upon him at feasts that often descended into bawdy drunkenness. Such decadence never impressed religious purists. “Men dishonor Christ more in the 12 days of Christmas,” wrote the 16th-century clergyman Hugh Latimer, “than in all the 12 months besides.”

When did that view win out?
Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely in 1659. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s, when the Crown managed to exert greater control over its subjects in Massachusetts. In 1686, the royal governor of the colony, Sir Edmund Andros, sponsored a Christmas Day service at the Boston Town House. Fearing a violent backlash from Puritan settlers, Andros was flanked by redcoats as he prayed and sang Christmas hymns.

So consider this as well when you watch this – the best version of A Christmas Carol I know of – with Alister Sim in the original Black & White. Note a very young Patric Macnee as the young Jacob Marley. Also note that Scrooge himself was raised in a fairly well off environment.

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3 thoughts on “A Charles Dickens Classic and Why there were those who would not celebrate Christmas

    1. cmaukonen

      Really. And it was the Puritans that had the “ethic” (if you can call it that) to work until you drop and then you were still thought of as a lackey.

  1. One of the most fond memories, at least to me, was where in England the peasants would get drunk and kind of go trick or treating….hahahahahah

    They would demand good booze and sustenance or they would threaten to stone the aristocratic abodes.

    My kind of holiday. ahhahahaa

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