CHRISTMAS IN EARLY NEW ENGLAND 1620-1820: PURITANISM, POPULAR CULTURE, AND THE PRINTED WORD. Stephen W. Nissenbaum.

CHRISTMAS IN EARLY NEW ENGLAND 1620-1820: PURITANISM, POPULAR CULTURE, AND THE PRINTED WORD.

  • Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1997.
  • 8vo.
  • stiff paper wrappers
  • pp. 79-164.
  • ISBN: 0944026729

Price: $15.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 47111

Reprinted from the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, Volume 106, Part I. Nissenbaum's essay traces how Puritans tried to keep Christmas out of New England and how the holiday still managed to return. Christmas entered first into the margins of New England culture, and then, by the latter half of the eighteenth-century, into its very mainstream. The struggle over this holiday was waged with the weapon of the printing press, and most especially in the region's almanacs, its hymnals, and its children's literature. These may have been the three most widely-read genres of all in New England - the very places where official and unofficial culture were mostly intertwined. The reappearance of older popular traditions of wassailing and begging in printed form suggests both a continuity with older rituals and a transformation of those rituals by respectable, even "official" culture.