Christmas in Early America

ChristmasLanguagesThe first colonists to introduce celebration and merriment to the holiday were the early settlers of Virginia.  The traditions they brought would likely have been reflected in a sixteenth century poem by Thomas Tusser:

At Christmas play and make cheer
For Christmas comes but once a year
Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall
Brawn, pudding and souse, and good mustard withall;
Beef, mutton and pork, shred pies of the best;
Pig, veal, goose and capon and turkey well drest;
Cheese, apples and nuts, jolly carols to hear,
As then in the country is counted good cheer.

One tradition brought by the English colonists of Virginia was noise-making with horns, drums and fireworks, which had been introduced in England in the fifteenth century.  In 1486 the first fireworks display took place in celebration of King Henry VII’s marriage.  This tradition continues in the South even today.

NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  Samples are available by clicking magazine image.  Regular monthly issues currently available for only $1.99. – Updated 1/20/18.

Leave a Comment