On this date in 1620, the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Referred to as “pilgrims,” the passengers were actually separatist Puritans, or, more basically, Anglicans. But there was no Christmas celebration that year.
Puritanism was a reform movement within the Church of England that sought to purify the Church from Roman Catholic practices and influences. This movement began in the latter 16th century, but by the end of the 17th century was no longer significant.
The Puritans frowned upon the celebration of Christmas because of all the externals – Christmas trees, crib scenes, decorations, gift-giving – which they felt were born of pagan customs, rather than rooted in Scripture.
In fact, the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay Colony actually outlawed Christmas. From 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in the colony would be fined five shillings.
- Little Blue Book, December 21