It is widely-known that Thanksgiving originated in New England. Many people have heard the story of the fabled feast where Indians and Englishmen broke bread together in the late fall of 1621. But fewer people know that for more than two centuries, Thanksgiving was primarily a regional holiday. Fewer still know that Thanksgiving was reactionary, created as a wholesome and godly winter holiday, to be observed in lieu of a festival the New England Puritans viewed as a wild, wicked time of reckless abandon with pagan roots (that was even illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681) -- namely, Christmas.
In this Conversation, led by Boston-based historian, archaeologist, and published author Marc Callis, we will explore how the Holiday season was celebrated in Puritan New England. We will investigate why a group of devout Christians strongly objected to a holiday that ostensibly commemorated the birth of Christ. We will learn how they adapted the holiday season to accord with their beliefs, promulgating their own holiday rooted in the Biblical imperative to give thanks. We will finish up with a discussion on how the New England holiday persevered even once the ancient festival of Christmas reasserted itself, laying the foundation for an American holiday season that cherished both celebrations.
Led by an expert in history, this seminar will deepen participants' understanding of this celebration, picking apart the true history of the occasion. Designed to inform curiosity and learning, we’ll leave with a broader knowledge of the Holiday season in relation to Puritan New England.
About Your Expert
Trained as a historian and archaeologist, Marc has worked at history museums and community colleges all over the US. His historical interests, which have led him to author numerous historical articles, academic and popular, for publications in the US and Europe, range from architectural history, to the Spanish Empire, to Mesoamerica and the pre-Hispanic North American Southwest. His current historical project is a book about the Presidio (i.e., old Spanish fort) San Agustin del Tucson in Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, Marc likes to shoot photographs, paint, build models, and write cosmicist fantasy in the tradition of HP Lovecraft. In 2017 he published his first collection of stories and novellas entitled "The Esoteric Order of Dagon."
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.
A very well researched talk about the long path to general acceptance of these holidays in New England.
If you are wondering how anything in Puritan New England can be entertaining, you must register for Marc Callis’s conversation on the topic. Marc’s knowledge, passion and sense of humor shine through in all of the presentations I’ve attended with him. Don’t miss out on this talented historian.