The Crazy Reason Why Christmas Used to Be Illegal in Connecticut
If I asked you to close your eyes and imagine Christmas, what would you see?
You'd probably imagine a picturesque snowy village, illuminated by the glow of candles. The candles are probably perched in the windows of colonial-style homes lined up one after the other. That is an idealized vision of Christmas, and for many Americans, it looks nothing like reality.
But folks who live in Connecticut know that as reality for a few nights a year. We are the lucky ones who get to see all the conditions fall in-line and create magic over the holidays.
Connecticut is a wonderland for Christmas lovers thanks to our climate, landscape, history and architecture. This is simply one of the best places to be during the holidays but the holiday was not always a reality in the Nutmeg State.
In fact, there was a time period when Christmas was illegal in Connecticut. According to Seasons Magazine:
The Puritans frowned heavily upon Christmas both here and in Massachusetts, viewing it as a marriage between paganism and Catholicism. Their objective was to stamp it out completely. In the mid-1600s, Christmas was made illegal in Connecticut and subject to large fines if caught celebrating.
The Hartford Courant also wrote about the Christmas ban saying:
Christmas was viewed by the Puritans of New England as a corrupt religious, if not a pagan, ritual and was not celebrated. Dec. 25 was a regular work day — unless, of course, it happened to fall on the Sabbath.
These spiritual descendants of John Calvin fled England to escape what they considered impure religious practices: ornate church buildings, elaborate rituals, the veneration of saints, flamboyant dress of the ministers. They were just as adamant in their opposition to the secular excesses they had witnessed in their homeland on religious holidays.
Eventually, Christmas would triumph over this foolishness but it wasn't until the mid-19th century that the holiday was widely celebrated in the Constitution State.
Could you even imagine no Christmas in Connecticut? I can't, I won't.
Fun Connecticut Christmas Facts:
Connecticut is credited with having the first Christmas tree. According to the New England Historical Society "A Hessian soldier named Hendrick Roddemore put up a Christmas tree in Windsor Locks, Conn., in 1777, giving Connecticut the claim to the first Christmas tree."
Hartford was a busy place on Christmas Day in the 1890's. According to CT History: "For Christmas day itself, Hartford residents who celebrated the holiday could choose from an array of activities, including church services, dinners, theatrical performances, dance parties, and even a polo match pitting Hartford’s team against that of Springfield, Massachusetts."
There is a famous movie called "Christmas in Connecticut" that was released in 1945. It was about an unmarried city magazine writer who pretends to be a farm wife and mother and then falls in love with a returning war hero.
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