Early American colonists celebrated Christmas quite differently from today’s traditions

CURRIE, NC (WWAY) — Moore’s Creek National Battlefield hosts a monthly living history series and an event this weekend focuses on holiday traditions of the early American colonists.

Visitors to the national park in Pender County will have the opportunity to see re-enactors and historians talking about Christmas traditions popular during the 18th century.

Jason Collins, chief of interpretations at the park, says in doing research for this event, there are several myths that surround Christmas celebrations.

For example in the northern colonies, the Puritans didn’t really celebrate Christmas.

“It was just a day for them to go to church and have a quiet day at home,” Collins said.

Where Christmas Day is the culmination of many people’s month-long celebrations today, Dec. 25 marked the start of the festivities during colonial times.

“You would start on Christmas Day and carry that celebration all through Epiphany which is the sixth of January and you would have a big party then,” Collins said.

Another misconception people have is believing the colonists used dried fruits like aranges and pineapples to decorate their homes for the holidays.

Back then, most common people didn’t have access to fresh fruits in the winter months because they were considered luxury items most couldn’t afford.

“We take it for granted that we can go to the grocery store and find fruit in the off season, but in the 1700s it was hard to get oranges and apples,” Collins said.

There was also the fear if you displayed fruit outside, you would attract wild animals that would come and devour it.

“The park will also be decorated for Christmas,” Collins said. “We want to transport you back to the 1770s here in the Carolinas.”

This weekend’s event will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Moore’s Creek National Battlefield in Currie, NC. Visitors will be able to see live musket demonstrations, how colonists used quills to write holiday notes, candle-making techniques and early American toys.

Categories: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Features, Live Cape Fear, Local, New Hanover, Pender

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