Provided by WorldNow

From approximately 1647 to 1660, during the rule of Oliver Cromwell, the celebration of Christmas was banned in Great Britain. For a time, shops actually were ordered to remain open on the holiday. Even the consumption of mince meat pie was outlawed!

Cromwell became ruler after the execution of King Charles I, eventually taking the title of Lord Protector. Cromwell and his faction in Parliament, called the Godly party, were Puritan Protestants who challenged many of the practices of the Roman Catholic faith. The boisterous celebration of Christmas common at the time affronted Puritan sensibilities, who preached a more reserved and staid life. While the Christmas ban remained on the books until the restoration of the monarchy by Charles II in 1660, it was difficult to enforce and some people continued to celebrate Christmas when no one was looking.

Whether Cromwell actually ordered the Christmas ban or merely endorsed a decision by his parliamentary partisans appears to be in dispute. Most British Web sites, including those of the BBC, the Oxford University Press and the English history learning site, all include articles pinning responsibility for the Christmas ban on Cromwell. But the Oliver Cromwell Website (he still has fans) argues that Cromwell was just following the dictates of his Godly party. Yet even the Cromwellians concede that he fully supported the ban even if it was not his idea.