I'd like to wish all of my readers a happy and joyous holiday season.
City Record readers are invited to a Christmas Eve Service at First Parish Church in Dorchester (Unitarian Universalist), 6 P.M. This will be a singing and readings service in a classic New England meeting house. There will be instrumentalists: guitar with the choir on "What Child Is This", flute accompanying "Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella" and a candlelit "Silent Night". There will be cookies and hot chocolate to follow and I will be giving tours talking about the history of First Parish Church. Children and welcome and encouraged.
Did you know that Unitarians had an important role in popularizing Christmas in the mid-19th century? I'll be happy to tell you all about it, as well as Puritan attitudes towards Christmas. As is oft repeated at this time of year, Massachusetts Puritans outlawed Christmas celebrations in 1658, passing an order "For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countrys, it is therefore ordered by this Court and authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labour, feasting, or any other way, upon such accounts as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the county."
As a gift to my readers, I am making available the file to produce the map seen below, which is one of my favorite maps of downtown Boston from the late 1800s. The file is rather large (around 2 MB) but you can click and download it to your computer and print it or simply open it up in your favorite image viewer. The resolution is high enough to support some close viewing, so be sure to use the zoom function to discover long gone streets and buildings! I will post the file until my bandwidth is exhausted and if that happens, I will email the file to those requesting it.