A Christmas Cornucopia by Mark Forsyth


A Christmas Cornucopia by Mark Forsyth

Author:Mark Forsyth
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780241977552
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Published: 2016-10-05T04:00:00+00:00


Of course, the Puritans tried to hold out against the relentless waves of fun that rolled across the Atlantic. They condemned and castigated, but that was only because there was so much fun to condemn. Cotton Mather, who was an eminent Bostonian author and preacher and scientist and the like, asked: ‘Can you in your consciences think that our holy saviour is honoured by mirth, by long eating, by hard drinking, by lewd gaming, by rude revelling, by a mass fit for none but a Saturn or a Bacchus, or the light of Mahametan Romandon?’

Christmas was formally banned in several states and then unbanned under pressure from the British authorities and then banned again and then semi-banned. So, for example, in 1659 Massachusetts passed a law that ‘anybody who is found observing, by abstinence from labour, feasting, or any other way, any such days as Christmas day, shall pay for every such offence five shillings’. It was repealed in 1681 under pressure from the British; and that was the usual way of it: the Americans hated Christmas, and it was the colonial authorities who forced them to tolerate it.

So it’s rather odd that the rise of Santa Claus in America is actually down to anti-British feeling and American patriotism. Because in the American War of Independence, Santa was on the side of the Americans.



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