Every year, on December 25th, billions of people around the world celebrate Christmas. Businesses are not left out since they make record sales as parents shop for gifts for their loved ones and share the love and joy on this day. Despite this, some countries have banned this day and its festivities today and in the past. In 1644, England banned Christmas Day due to a variety of reasons.
At the time, England was under the leadership of the monarch, King Charles I and several civil wars had been fought between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists, a war that swung in both sides in that year. Historians have dubbed the civil war as the First English Civil war. The other major event was when Oliver Cromwell imposed a puritanical form of worship with the help of his allies at the Ely cathedral after taking over Parliament. Puritanism was imposed after the English parliament had adopted the Puritan beliefs that strongly repudiated pagan practices like taking alcohol in predominantly Christian holidays such as Christmas. Parliament took a radical view of Christmas, banned it altogether, and replaced it with a day of fasting, which was considered part of the puritanical doctrine of worship.
The philosophy behind puritanism is the removal of all remnants of Roman Catholicism from the Church of England and to do this, all forms of Popish idolatry were shunned. Preaching was done by drawing images from the scriptures and adding on everyday experiences that people go through. Puritans believed that Christmas Day celebrations were full of Papist idolatry and poured scorn over this day following the disorder that was witnessed when people got drunk and indulged in sexual liberties. The celebrations were full of behaviors that were deemed as egregious, and it was considered as part of a Roman festival, which had been hijacked. Banning the observation of Christmas was seen as a way to conform to the Puritanical doctrine. The Puritans also banned the observation of the day of saints.
The ban was met with protests in England and in some of the colonies that were against the Puritans and their ideology. As a result, the English civil war continued. Puritan ideology was often intolerant of other religious sects like Anglicans and Quakers. Pro-Christmas factions clashed with Puritans and riots broke out. During the riots, Canteburry fell under the control of the rioters for some weeks, and they chanted royalist slogans. The Puritans dug in their heels and maintained the ban despite the sporadic clashes with other factions.
The Puritans observed Christmas Day by congregating in churches and observing a fast, which was in total contrast to the drinking and merrymaking that characterized this day. The ban was officially lifted after King Charles II was restored in 1660. However, the clergy still looked down on Christmas celebrations and continued to discourage the members from partaking in them.
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