Skip to comments.Christmas is an American holiday
Posted on 12/17/2011 2:34:11 PM PST by Chuckmorse
In colonial times Christmas was frowned upon in New England and observed mostly as a private feast in mid-Atlantic and Southern colonies. The strait-laced New England Puritans, partially motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment, banned Christmas in 1659 under the guise that the holiday was pagan and that it encouraged decadence. Colonial Americans celebrated a Christmas that contained both religious and secular elements thus establishing a uniquely balanced American approach to faith. Christmas harkens back to the ancient Roman celebration of the Saturnalia, a day in which all Romans, Emperor and slave, addressed each other on a first name basis.
Christmas was not celebrated by colonial Puritans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers but it was observed by Anglicans, Dutch Reformed, Lutherans and Catholics. Drawing from various old world traditions, Christmas in colonial America included bells, mistletoe, yule logs, wreaths, eggnog, gingerbread, and various Christmas foods. The Dutch settlers of New York contributed Sinter Klass and baked deserts. Christmas was a time for charity and for giving gifts to the poor. George Washington and other southern plantation owners were known to host lavish Christmas parties. Southerners of all economic levels celebrated raucous Christmas parties that included firing muskets into the air, banging pots, drinking, feasting, playing games, and generally taking time off from work. Bands of mummers, or folk-singers, dressed in costume, would roam Colonial towns on Christmas Eve caroling, acting in skits, and making revelry.
Christmas was proclaimed a federal holiday by an executive order that was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, June 26, 1870. Since that time, Christmas has been confirmed into law by various acts of Congress and by the States. The legality of Christmas as a federal holiday has never been challenged in any American court. The American tradition has been to observe the religious aspects of Christmas in church or in the home and the secular aspects in various public forms. There should, therefore, be no controversy around the celebration of Christmas. Indeed wishing someone a Merry Christmas should be viewed as American as wishing someone a happy Fourth of July. The general theme of Christmas as it has come to be defined, Peace on earth, good-will toward men is a universal theme at ought to be embraced. But what about the undeniable Christian nature of Christmas? Is it appropriate for our secular government to officially recognize what is essentially a religious holiday? The answer, to a degree, is yes.
It is an undeniable fact of history that America has been and largely remains a Christian nation. Indeed, by not establishing Christianity as a state religion, and by establishing a system of government and a society that respects religious differences and that considers all citizens to be equal under the law, America is, by its nature, a Christian nation. Christianity, unlike Islam and certain other religions, and unlike the secular political faiths of Nazism and Communism, involves a personal relationship between the believer and Jesus.
While historically Christianity has been used from time to time by secular political leaders and movements as a vehicle to obtain and enhance state power, Christianity, per se, rejects this notion. Indeed, Jesus established in his ministry the separation of church and state. Carrying forth the moral and ethical precepts of the Torah, Jesus recognized that rights emanate from the creator and not from the state.
It is indeed our Christian heritage that has made us the most successful and prosperous society ever established in human history. It is, therefore, entirely appropriate and fitting that we, as Americans, celebrate Christmas and by doing so honor and reflect upon our Christian heritage.
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True. Puritans abhored Christmas, as the “mas” at the end was truncated “mass”; it was perceived as a Catholic thing. I’d read that it became popular in the U.S. as the Irish and Italian population became stronger here.
Also Christmas became popular when the Germans came here also..
I should probably explain that I was feeling solidarity with the puritans when I commented.
Been hearing this for years and have only lately learned that it isn't true. The celebration of Christ's birth, it turns out, harkens back to a desire to celebrate Christs’ birth. The date decided upon was fixed by the belief that Christ died on the same date that He was born with Christmas being the date of the Immaculate Conception.
Oops! CONCIEVED and died on the same day with Christmas as the birth.
Try googling “winter solstice”
It’s pretty easy to work out that Christ was born at Tabernacles from the priestly course of John’s father, Zechariah.
“Try googling winter solstice”
Why? I said I’ve been hearing the story since forever. Libs love it since it make an entire religion look like calculating political hacks.
From the first federal census of 1790, Catholics comprised only about 6/10ths of a percent (0.6%) of the population of the thirteen original colonies (about 25,000 out of 3,939,000).
The number, 25,000 (Catholics), is from John Carroll (bishop), 1785.
First federal census:
You might want to check this out: The History of Christmas: http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/
Whether they try to change Christmas to just a holiday, it still means the same to me. Merry CHRISTmas!!
“The word holiday derived from the notion of “Holy Day”, and gradually evolved to its current form.”
In the Florida Panhadle this past week I twice heard Christmas prounced Christ-mass by Baptists. I like it! I can imagine it will drive liberal X-mas people nuts!
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