Winstanley: A True Spirit of Christmas Past

Big Apple Dayze

Four centuries ago, when England erupted in civil war, Christmas there was in a sorry state. In 1644, the victorious Puritan faction outlined its numerous and fundamentalist decrees by completely banning the holiday. They saw Christmas as a solemn, pious occasion and opposed the drunken debauchery and revelries that, in their opinion, had distorted its religious significance. In addition to this, the Puritans also objected to the name itself: Christmas (“Christ’s Mass“) resounded with Roman Catholicism; the ultimate anathema to Puritanism. They changed the name to “Christ’s Tide” and celebrated the day in a quite subdued manner…with fasting!

These Puritans weren’t joking; they made their menacing presence known to one and all in a not very merry old England. Soldiers patrolled the streets and would fine or arrest anyone holding church service, along with entering households and seizing any food they suspected would be used for…

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