Stephen Prothero of Boston University dispels some myths:
When we think of the New England Puritans who gave to us Thanksgiving, we tend to run to predictable nouns, including killjoy and prude.
But Thanksgiving is a festival, which is to say it was made for fun. And New England's Puritans were by no means allergic to fun.
To be sure, they aimed (as their name implies) to "purify" the Church of England of every last vestige of Roman Catholicism. So they refused to celebrate Roman Catholic festivals, not least Christmas, which was banned by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1659.
These Puritans were not as puritanical as we imagine, however.
Read Prothero's entire post here.
One thing I found surprising in the piece is that he lumps the Pilgrims and the Puritans together. The Pilgrims were more like Baptists who had actually fled to Holland before coming over. The Puritans were more like Reformed individuals who remained part of the Church of England.
Thanks for pointing this out. Does that make a difference for this particular article?
I thought it was very interesting about the Puritans. But I thought it was really funny since the whole premise of the article was linking Thanksgiving with the Puritans... and there isn't any link ;-)
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