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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Last Thoughts on Christmas

As Christmas 2009 begins to fade into memory, we offer a few more bits of historical context, courtesy of the Miami Herald:

Any celebration of the Dec. 25 date was banned in 17th century England under the Protestant rule of Oliver Cromwell and in the early days of colonial America. It was a crime to celebrate that day in Massachusetts from 1659 through 1681.

But by the 19th century in this country the celebration of Christmas -- spurred by such events as the publication of literary works such as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Washington Irving's The Keeping of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall and R. H. Hervey's The Book of Christmas -- was growing in popularity.

Alabama became the first state to make Christmas a legal holiday in 1836. By 1907 every contiguous state had followed when Oklahoma proclaimed the holy day an official holiday. Similar growth in the recognition of the event occurred in Europe and other parts of the world.

One may also find different perspectives on the history of the Christmas holiday in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984)