Christmas may appear to have always been celebrated in the United States, but this is not the case. In reality, Christians themselves prohibited the festive religious celebration in America for for 22 years.
Puritans, or Protestant Christians who felt that people required rigorous laws to be devout and that any type of merrymaking was evil, waged the initial attack against Christmas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
When the Puritans arrived in the New World, they carried with them their harsh customs, religious beliefs, and dislike for Christmas. Although Christmas was extensively celebrated in Europe as a Christian festival commemorating Jesus Christ's birth, puritans considered it as a fake celebration having more connections to paganism than Christianity.
Christmas trees and decorations were deemed impure pagan rites, and traditional Christmas meals such as mince pies and pudding were also forbidden. Puritan rules mandated stores and businesses to stay open all day on Christmas, while town criers went through the streets on Christmas Eve shouting "No Christmas, no Christmas!"
The Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an ordinance called Penalty for Keeping Christmas in 1659. The argument was that superstitiously celebrated holidays in other nations were a grave disgrace to God and insult to people. Anyone caught celebrating Christmas by neglecting to work, feasting, or in any other way shall pay a fine of five shillings for each such infraction.
Penalty for Keeping Christmas, 1659 (with modern spelling):
For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offence of others, it is therefore ordered by this Court and the authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon such accounts as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the country.
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