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 Festival Days.--These were too fashionable in the mother country to be popular here. There were some holidays, of American origin, which were celebrated with enthusiasm. Election-day was hailed with drums, guns, and drinking. Commencement-day at Cambridge College was a great festival, uniting the church and the state; and each one of the whole community seemed personally interested in it. Small detachments of boys from Medford went under the care of trusty slaves. Neal says, “The people were as cheerful among their friends as the English are at Christmas.” Ordination-days came not very often; but, when they did, the occasion demanded great outlays in food and drinks; and, in the evening, there were what the ministers called “unbecoming actions,” --probably blindman's-buff, and such other tolerable frolic as took place at huskings. Pope-day, though of English origin, was noticed by our ancestors; and the 5th of November brought the gunpowder-plot, sermons, and carousing, into the same twenty-four hours. It was the season for bonfires, and for replenishing the mind with hatred of the Catholics. Of the European holidays which our fathers rejected, there was Christmas. If any one observed it, he was fined five shillings! Increase Mather (1687), in his “Testimony against several Profane and Superstitious Customs now practised by some in New England,” says Candlemas-day had “superstition written on its forehead.” “Shrove Tuesday was the heathen's shrove-tide, when the pagan Romans made little cakes as a sacrifice to their gods, and the heathen Greeks made pancakes to their idols.” Drinking healths, and making New-Year's gifts, were discouraged, as paganish customs. The drama was thus forbidden: “Baptized persons are under obligation to renounce all the pomps of Satan, and therefore to abhor and abandon stage-plays, which have a principal part in the pomps of the Devil.” For equally valid reasons, May-day was anathematized; and when, in Charlestown, they thought of erecting a May-pole, Mr. Mather, in 1686, said, “It is an abominable shame, that any persons, in a land of such light and purity as New England has been, should have the face to speak or think of practising so vile a piece of heathenism.” Dancing was dangerous because “the daughter of Herodias danced John the Baptist's head off.” But Mr. Mather says, in 1685, that, within “the last year, promiscuous dancing was openly practised, and too much ”
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