Please forgive what may be seen as a silly question

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Henri De Ceredigion
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:12 pm
Location: Llanrhystud, Ceredigion, Wales

Please forgive what may be seen as a silly question

Post by Henri De Ceredigion »

I know that Christmas was banned during the Commonwealth in England, but was Christmas celebrated the way we would understand it today in the early to mid 17th century? I would be especially interested to know how Wales and France celebrated it.

Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:26 pm
Location: Montacute

Re: Please forgive what may be seen as a silly question

Post by SteveC »

The current 'family oriented' Christmas is largely a Victorian innovation.
Ronald Hutton's "Stations of the Sun" is good for the history of Chirstmas (and other holidays).


Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: Please forgive what may be seen as a silly question

Post by Strafford »

Initially it was banned by Parliament in 1642 along with various sports and entertainments. You can read it in the Parliamentary records of that year.
There was a 'proviso', that these things would only be banned during a time of great upheaval and trouble and that people would better spend their time in prayer. However, Christ Mass was a Roman Catholic festival and frowned upon by the Protestant Parliament.

Banning the Roman Catholic holidays seems a bit harsh but anything that allowed Catholicism to raise its head in England would have denied the effect that Catholicism had had in Britain and on the Continent.
Go back as far as Bloody Mary and the mass murder of Protestants in England, then go across to ireland and see the mass murder of Protestants by the Spanish at the invitation of Mary. Follow on with Elizabeth and her constant conflict with the ever machinating Mary Queen of Scots, a strict Catholic who had designs on the English throne. Throw in the Spanish Armada and another attempt to unthrone Elizabeth and you can imagine the Protestant English to be getting hot under the collar! Jump forward to 1641 and the Irish Rebellion. Parliament, in 1642 had to borrow money from the City of London Merchant Adventurers to pay the Scots to put down the Rebellion which bubbled and boiled until Cromwell paid a visit to Ireland in 1649. During all that time, the Roman Catholic Church had persecuted Protestants in France (La Rochelle) and Savoy (Piedmont). They had also instigated the Pogroms in Poland which unhomed hundreds of thousands of Jews.

The really humorous twist on this is that the Irish Rebellion was a fight for religious freedom. A bit like ISIS regarding their fight as one for Religious Freedom. What is also funny nowadays is seeing thousands of women amongst thousands of men in America decrying Trump's banning travellers from certain Muslim states. If those women lived in those states, they would be shut up at home, stoned if they were raped and become property of their husbands which will have been chosen for them. Religious freedom in so many cases, both then and now usually means the freedom to remove the religious freedom from other people.

Am I being 'political'? My mate, Oliver Cromwell had a mate called Roger William who founded the Long Island Colony and saved Massachusett's religious bigots on a number of occasions. Roger Williams posed a question.... Q: How should the Civil Power deal with and Aberrant religious sect? A: First Permit, and second Protect. Cromwell treated the Quakers like so.... They had been fined and imprisoned for disturbing other denomination's worship. They also refused to remove thir hats in Churches or Courts. Cromwell had them released and their fines reimbursed. He said that if they refused to rmove their hats, being pacifists, remove their hats for them. Sadly, he died shortly after and many of the reforms with regards to Debtors Prisons and tithes, plus freedom of conscience had to wait a couple of hundred years.

In case you wonder.... I believe that Muslims and Roman Catholics should enjoy and should have enjoyed religious freedom but without the freedom to persecute people who believe in different things. Rome is getting there. Deciding that paedophile priests should be prosecuted was a big step, as was recognizing their tacit approval of Hitler's mass murder of the Jews. I've yet to hear them state that other religions and denominations are valid. And, when Islam decides that other religions and sects are valid and that the age of Consent for girls should be a few years above Jimmy Saville's preferences and the bits that God gave those said girls don't really need improvement, Maybe we'll all get along famously.

It's just a bit of a shame that we, in Britain, living in a country where Christianity, with courage, humanity and blood has given us a history to be proud of have rejected the idea of Christianity for the latest headline celebrity and a mobile phone that can turn your electric blanket on from the settee downstairs.

Banning Christmas wasn't mean minded men spoiling our fun. It was a way of insulating us from the cant and idolatry of the Roman Catholic Church. It also gave Chickens a welcome reprieve and delayed visits to the North Pole by hundreds of years. I'd ban it again if I could. When, like me you're 67, grumpy, full of aches and pains, unable to drink Whisky any more etc. The last thing you want is some daft sod wishin you a Merry Christmas.

Post Reply