Why the Puritans cracked down on celebrating Christmas

But debates about celebrating Christmas go back to the 17th century. The Puritans, it turns out, were not too keen on the holiday. They first discouraged Yuletide festivities and later outright banned them.

At first glance, banning Christmas celebrations might seem like a natural extension of a stereotype of the Puritans as joyless and humorless that persists to this day.

But as a scholar who has written about the Puritans, I see their hostility toward holiday gaiety as less about their alleged asceticism and more about their desire to impose their will on the people of New England – Natives and immigrants alike.

By Peter C. Mancall, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

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