THE ADVOCATE 947
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
mons in Parliament assembled, That the said Fest of the Nativity of
Christ, Easter and Whitsuntide, and all other Festival dayes, commonly
called Holy-dayes, be no longer observed as Festivals or Holy-dayes
within this Kingdome of England and Dominion of Wales, any Law,
Statute, Custome, Constitution, or Cannon to the contrary in any wise
Charles I (not executed until 1649) was displeased by the ordinance,
though he seems to have focused his complaint on its abolition of Easter
Sensitive to human resource issues, and to minimize popular upset from
being deprived of days away from work, the 1647 ordinance provided:
all Scholars, Apprentices, and other Servants shall, with the leave and
approbation of their Masters respectively first had and obtained, have
such convenient reasonable Recreation and Relaxation from their constant
and ordinary Labours on every second Tuesday in the moneth
throughout the year, as formerly they have used to have on such aforesaid
Festivals, commonly called Holy-dayes.
Though churches were largely closed on Christmas Day in face of these
ordinances, citizens commonly disobeyed: most businesses still closed for
the holiday, and most citizens celebrated Christmas and ate large meals.10
Ultimately the prohibition on celebration of Christmas as a holy day fell
away with the Restoration in 1660.
1. See Clemency Burton-Hill, “When Christmas Carols
Were Banned”, BBC (19 December 2014), online:
2. See Stephen W Nissenbaum, Christmas in Early
New England, 1620-1820: Puritanism, Popular Culture,
and the Printed Word (American Antiquarian
Society, 1996) 79 at 82–83.
3. As quoted in Abby Ohleiser, “The Puritan War on
Christmas Was the Best War on Christmas”, The
Atlantic (11 December 2013), online: <www.the
4. See Christopher Durston, “Puritan Rule and the Failure
of Cultural Revolution, 1645-1660” in Christopher
Durston & Jacqueline Eales, eds, The Culture of
English Puritanism, 1560–1700 (New York: Macmillan,
1996) at 212.
5. “December 1644: An Ordinance for the better
observation of the monethly Fast; and more especially
the next Wednesday, commonly called The
Feast of the Nativity of Christ, Thorowout the Kingdome
of England and Dominion of Wales” in
Charles H Firth and Robert S Rait, eds, Acts and
Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 (London,
1911) at 580, online: British History Online
6. As quoted in Nigel Jamieson, “Oliver Cromwell: The
Grinch That Stole Christmas” (2005) 26:3 Statute
Law Review 189 at 199.
7. Luke Beck, “The Constitutional Prohibition on Imposing
Religious Observances” (2017) 41:2 Melb UL
Rev 493 at 518.
8. “June 1647: An Ordinance for Abolishing of Festivals”
in Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum,
supra note 5 at 954, online: British History Online
9. Daniel Neal, The History of the Puritans, vol 2 at
458–59, as quoted online: <reformedbooks on
10. Durston, supra note 4 at 223.