The Years Without Christmas: Puritans Against the Holiday in Colonial New England


The Puritans who first colonized Massachusetts were Christians. They were radical in the eyes of the established Anglican church of England in the 1600’s, and so were persecuted. Wanting to worship according to their Bible-based beliefs, they came to America to start a community that would be built solely on the Bible they loved. They called it “a city on a hill,” which is a Biblical reference to a parable Jesus told in Matthew 5: 14-15, which explained that such a city could not be hidden, and its light of righteousness would be visible for all the world to see. This is what the Puritans wanted for their colony, without the worldly influence of other religions.
Back in England, the celebration of Christmas was a festive time of feasting and merrymaking. Lots of games were played, families and communities celebrated joyfully, and there was general revelry all around. The Puritans did not approve of this. They believed that the traditional English Christmas celebrations encouraged loose moral behavior that was unseemly on a religious holy day. While they tried to avoid participating in Christmas celebrations in England, their refusal to participate only set them out as different from the rest of the community and brought unwanted attention upon them from their neighbors and Anglican church authorities... Read More