In May 1611, Sir Thomas Dale arrived in Virginia to establish a new settlement for the colony. In September 1611, he had established Henricus, the colony’s second settlement.
Can you imagine what Christmas must have been like that year?
The Englishmen who came to Jamestown in 1607 considered Christmas to be one of the most special times of the year. In England, the season lasted about two weeks, from December 25 to Twelfth Day, January 6. There was lots of feasting and drinking during those 12 days.
Englishmen loved their food. Thomas Tusser, in his “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie,” wrote:
“Good bread and good drinke, a good fier in the hall,
brawne, pudding and souse, and good mustard withall.
Beefe, mutton, and porke, shred pies of the best,
pig, veale, goose and capon, and turkey well drest;
Cheese, apples and nuts, joly Carols to heare,
as then in the countrie is counted good cheare.”
Despite hardships, the English colonists still kept Christmas as a religious festival even though life in the New World was a dangerous existence. One Jamestown historian wrote “By the 1620s and 1630s…the Christmas season served as a calendar benchmark for various legislative activities. In 1631, for instance, the laws stated that churches were to be built in areas where they were lacking or were in a state of decay, such action to take place before the “feast of the nativitie of our Saviour Christ.”
Info found: “Christmas in 17th-century England and Virginia” by Nancy Egloff, Jamestown Settlement Historian and www.henricus.org