Sunday, December 25, 2005

The War on Christmas, the Prequel puts things in perspective with past "Wars on Christmas": The War on Christmas, the Prequel - When the holiday was banned
By Andrew Santella

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"Liberal plots notwithstanding, the Americans who succeeded in banning the holiday were the Puritans of 17th-century Massachusetts. Between 1659 and 1681, Christmas celebrations were outlawed in the colony, and the law declared that anyone caught 'observing, by abstinence from labor, feasting or any other way any such days as Christmas day, shall pay for every such offense five shillings.' Finding no biblical authority for celebrating Jesus' birth on Dec. 25, the theocrats who ran Massachusetts regarded the holiday as a mere human invention, a remnant of a heathen past. They also disapproved of the rowdy celebrations that went along with it. 'How few there are comparatively that spend those holidays … after an holy manner,' the Rev. Increase Mather lamented in 1687. 'But they are consumed in Compotations, in Interludes, in playing at Cards, in Revellings, in excess of Wine, in Mad Mirth.'"

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