Tuesday, December 25, 2018

17C Christmas - Cotton Mather (1663-1728) saw Christmas as "long eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, by rude Reveling"

Peter Pelham (English-born Boston artist, 1695-1751) Cotton Mather

The Puritan ideas about the celebration of Christmas continued in the 18C.  Increase Mather's son Boston divine Cotton Mather (1663-1728) wrote that the "Feast of Christ's Nativity is spent in Reveling, Dicing, Carding, Masking, and in all Licentious Liberty ...by Mad Mirth, by long eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, by rude Reveling. . . ." Christmas caroling was condemned, as well, since it occurred in parallel with these other acts.

In Massachusetts, seafaring communities, where outsiders came & went, like Nantucket and the town of Marblehead continued particularly notorious celebrations, despite officials' best efforts to quash Christmas observance throughout the colony.
Cotton Mather's House on Hanover Street in Boston