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One of the fascinating things about reading historical fiction is seeing how differently things that we take for granted now were treated in the past. I found this passage interesting as it is set at the time of the Restoration to the English throne of Charles II, not long after the Commonwealth ended. During this time, the celebrating of holy and feast days associated with the Catholic church was frowned upon, including Christmas.
This passage comes from page 243 of Anthony Capella's The Empress of Ice Cream
I told Elias we would be spending the winter out at Hampton and his face fell.and then later....
"What is it, boy?"
He said hesitantly, "It is just that we will miss Christmas."
"Elias!" his mother said, overhearing. "Christmas! What is this I hear?"
He hung his head in shame. "Some of the other children are saying that it will be a holiday."
Without asking my permission, she whisked him off into a corner. I thought she must be scolding him over his lack of enthusiasm for his work, until I realised that her objection was a different one. She was trying to speak quietly, but anger made her voice carry.
"... bad enought that you work for a papist. But I will not be celebrating papist festivals as well. Now be off with you, and no more talk of Christmas."
"You don't celebrate Christmas, I take it?" I said neutrally.
"We do not."
"May I ask the reason?'
"Under the Protector, it was seen that there was no need for it."
"Whereas the Protector's own birthday, no doubt, was a public holiday?"
She glared at me. "Show me where in the Gospels it says that December the twenty-fifth is Christ's birthday, and we will celebrate it. Until then the Sabbath is enough Lord's Day for us."