Christmas in Early America

By Donald N. Moran. The Celebration of Christmas on America has been through a lot of changes down through the decades and centuries. In fact, there was a time in New England when it was illegal to celebrate what is now perhaps our favorite holiday. But at least as early as 1608, Americans, white- and red-skinned alike, made merry on that special day.


In 17th and early 18th century Colonial America, a Christmas celebration did not resemble the festivities that we are familiar with today. Christmas was considered the first day in a season of celebration, a season which would last, in some areas, until the end of January. The Christmas Advent season consisted of: December 25th, the Nativity of Jesus; December 27th, the Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist (celebrated by the Masons); January 1st, the Circumcision of Jesus; January 6th, the Epiphany (visit of the Wisemen); and February 2nd, the Purification of the Virgin. Christmas celebrations varied throughout the Colonies, from the Puritans in New England who did not celebrate Christmas, to the Southern Anglicans, whose revelries somewhat match modern Christmas celebrations. [Read the entire article as PDF…]

Taken from

The Barnes Review, November/December 2010: The Unknown ‘King Francis’


Posted in: TBR Articles and tagged: ,