Christmas Banned in England in 17th Century

The Slovenian version of Santa, Ded Moroz or Father Frost

The Slovenian version of Santa, Ded Moroz or Father Frost 

Yes, around the world, people are shopping for Christmas celebrations.

To worship Jesus?

No, essentially to celebrate an ancient winter festival.

However, it has been outlawed from time to time.

Here is a historical article of related interest:

Increasingly in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, many people, especially the more Godly, came to frown upon this celebration of Christmas, for two reasons. Firstly, they disliked all the waste, extravagance, disorder, sin and immorality of the Christmas celebrations.

Secondly, they saw Christmas (that is, Christ’s mass) as an unwelcome survival of the Roman Catholic faith, as a ceremony particularly encouraged by the Catholic church and by the recusant community in England and Wales, a popish festival with no biblical justification – nowhere had God called upon mankind to celebrate Christ’s nativity in this way, they said. What this group wanted was a much stricter observance of the Lord’s day (Sundays), but the abolition of the popish and often sinful celebration of Christmas, as well as of Easter, Whitsun and assorted other festivals and saints’ days. 

In the early 1640s, as power passed from Charles I (who largely supported the existing rituals and festivals) to the Long Parliament, parliament began the process of clamping down on the celebration of Christmas, pressing that ‘Christ-tide’ (as they preferred it called, thus doing away with the ‘mass’ element and its Catholic echoes) should be kept, if at all, merely as a day of fasting and seeking the Lord.

In January 1642, shortly before civil war began, Charles I had agreed to parliament’s request to order that the last Wednesday in each month should be kept as a fast day; many hoped that Christ-tide, 25 December, would come to be seen and kept as just an addition to these regular fast days. The Long Parliament, in fact, met and worked as usual on 25 December 1643. In late 1644 it was noted that 25 December would fall on the last Wednesday of the month, the day of the regular monthly fast, and parliament stressed that 25 December was strictly to be kept as a time of fasting and humiliation, for remembering the sins of those who in the past had turned the day into a feast, sinfully and wrongfully ‘giving liberty to carnal and sensual delights’. Both Houses of Parliament attended intense fast sermons on 25 December 1644.

In January 1645 a group of ministers appointed by parliament produced a new Directory of Public Worship, which set out a new church organisation and new forms of worship to be adopted and followed in England and Wales… Parliamentary legislation adopting the Directory of Public Worship, initially as one of several forms which could be followed in England and Wales, but then as the only form which was legal and was to be allowed, abolishing and making illegal any other forms of worship and church services, therefore prohibited (on paper at least) the religious celebration of all other holy days, including Christmas.

In June 1647 the Long Parliament reiterated this by passing an Ordinance confirming the abolition of the feasts of Christmas, Easter and Whitsun, though at the same time parliament said that the second Tuesday in each month was to be kept as a non-religious, secular holiday, providing a break for servants, apprentices and other employees.

During the 1650s parliamentary legislation was passed to reinforce the structure that had been put in place by the end of the 1640s. Specific penalties were to be imposed on anyone found holding or attending a special Christmas church service, it was ordered that shops and markets were to stay open on 25 December, the Lord Mayor was repeatedly ordered to ensure that London stayed open for business on 25 December, and when it met on 25 December 1656 the second Protectorate Parliament discussed the virtues of passing further legislation clamping down on the celebration of Christmas (though no Bill was, in fact, produced). Legislation was passed to ensure that Sundays were even more strictly observed as the Lord’s Day, but the holding of a regular monthly fast on the last Wednesday of the month, which had never proved popular or been widely followed, was quietly dropped.

Although in theory and on paper the celebration of Christmas had been abolished, in practice it seems that many people continued to mark 25 December as a day of religious significance and as a secular holiday.  Source:

Is Christmas a Christian holiday?


Two articles of related interest may be:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? 

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