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Amelia Islander

The Year They Cancelled Christmas

Dec 21, 2012 02:00AM
Christmas is our favorite holiday of the year! And who wouldn’t want to spend it in the best place in the world, our own Amelia Island. But did you know that long ago, in 1620, Christmas was cancelled? And not to be celebrated again for many more years?

It was in the Puritan colony of Plymouth, where the strict religious group believed that the reveling of Christmas was pagan, and that the only holy day that should be observed was the Sabbath, plus a few other days of thanksgiving. The Puritans were a hard-working lot, who toiled for at least 300 days per year, ignoring many other holidays or days of rest. In 1647, the Puritans of New England went as far as passing a series of laws making any observation of Christmas illegal, and a Massachusetts law in 1659 even punished offenders with a five shilling fine.

It wasn’t until 1870, after the Civil War, when Ulysses S. Grant proposed Christmas Day to be a Federal holiday, in order to unite the North and the South. The Puritan hostility eventually relaxed, and today, the holiday is one of family togetherness and joyful celebration. No matter what your faith, Christmas is an American holiday, a time to step back from our daily duties, and spread the glad tidings of the season.

Here at the Amelia Islander Magazine, we wish all our friends and families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!