These attitudes were carried to the New World by English Puritans, Quakers, Baptists and Scottish Presbyterians. In America, reprisals were as harsh here as back in Scotland. In Massachusetts a five-shilling penalty was imposed on anyone found feasting or shirking work on Christmas Day, and in 1621 the Governor of Plymouth Colony reprimanded some “lusty young men” whom he found on Christmas “pitching ye barr, and some playing at stoole-ball and such like sports”.For the record, my annual attack of grouchyness at Xmas is prompted by people going OTT, enforced frivolity and people going on (and on, and on) about the baby Jesus.
Now, my atheism is well established, and my assertion that atheism is a faith, it cannot be proven thus should be treated and given equal privledges to religion is also something most know about me; I respect those of faith much more than I respect those who "don't know" or "haven't thought about it". But, please. Christians? It's not your festival. It was hijacked from a combination of different festivals by Pope Julius I, it combines Yule, Solstice, Mithras and a few other things. Jesus was most likely born (if we acknowledge he existed, which I'm prepared to but other historians more knowledgeable than me say otherwise) in March apparently. This isn't a Christian festival, in fact, true Christians shouldn't celeebrate it, so say the Church of Scotland.
So I, as an atheist who's quite happy to get stuck in with secular festivals based on the calender of seasons, can quite happily eat drink and be merry. So can anyone else. But can we put the nativity stuff away? I'll let you keep Easter, just accept that it's also Eostre, and I'll be eating