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When was Easter first celebrated in the U.S.?

 
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 04:40 pm
I was writing on another subject when I found I would have to know about the first celebration of Easter in America -- which I thought would be a simple and straightforward research question. I have now spent a lot of time on it, and still don't know the answer. There have been vague references to the Eighteenth Century and the antebellum period. I would like to know the year Easter was first celebrated -- but would be very grateful for any additional information such as "who," "what," "where" and how. I estimate that Easter was first celebrated between 1840 and 1880, probably in New York City or Baltimore. I am looking for the first celebration, no matter who did it or how it was done -- whether by a church, or a group of people by themselves.
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Type: Question • Score: 10 • Views: 6,130 • Replies: 33
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 05:00 pm
@Woollcott,
As a national holiday, youre probably near right. However, in the "gay" German sects that travel "Nach Pennsylfawnisch im Yahr 1695". The celebration was a local springtime ritual. Easter was a bit more solemn but was celebrated with feasting as early as 1705 in LAncater town. The symbol of the egg and lamb were used in traditional feasts.

In New Orleans and other Spanish towns the hitory of Easter goes back to the 1700's also. The Krews of Pre Lenten parties that later became Mardi Gras were already in practice at the founding of the town by the Spanish. Ill bet that Easter was a celebrated holiday in other Spanish cities of Fla and the West.

Easter was celebrated in the colony of Maryland in the early 1700s also. (It being a Catholic colony).
So, celebration was not unknown 100 or more years before the Civil War but nationwide celebration had to wait until we wiped out all the Puritans.
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 05:04 pm
It has to have been way before the 1800's. Easter is a religious ceremony that was celebrated by the Catholic church. I am pretty sure Catholics lived in the territory we now refer to as the US in the 1500's (although from what I understand the Puritans of New England did not celebrate Easter).

If you are talking about the political US, then I would guess it would have been 1777.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 07:14 pm
In the Catholic church, the only time you are completely required to go to church is Easter. It's the whole reason for Christianity existence.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 07:35 pm
New Orleans was founded by the French--it only passed to Spain later on, by treaty. Although there were French living among the aboriginal inhabitants as early as 1690, the settlement was not officially founded until done so by de Bienville in 1718. Lake Pontchartrain was named for the French Minister of Marine (Navy Minister), because all colonies were under his authority, and was so named well before de Bienville established his village.

Maryland became a formal colony (there had already been individual "planters" who had set up there, mostly on the eastern shore) when Charles II, sometime after 1660, used that as a means to reward English Catholics, who had hidden him and gotten him safely out of England in 1651 after the defeat of his Scots army at Worcester. Many English Catholics had also supported his father, Charles I, who was executed by Parliament in January, 1649. A good deal of that support was monetary, and Charles was in no position to pay it back. Many colonies had such an origin. Admiral Penn had lent 15,000 pounds sterling to Charles and his brother James in 1660 when he had come back to England to take the throne. Charles repaid that by giving Admiral Penn's son the colony of Pennsylvania (Penn's Woods). In the case of the English Catholics, and in particular Cecil Calvert, Charles rewarded them with the Maryland colony. George Calvert had aided his father, and with large loans which he raised among English Catholics (who probably didn't really expect to get their money back). George Calvert was the first Baron Baltimore--surprise, surprise.

I would suggest to you that Easter probably was first celebrated among the Spanish of Florida, but for a certainty, in Maryland after the colony was established.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 07:47 pm
I'm sorry, i just did some checking, and i got the facts of the Maryland colony wrong. It was Charles I who granted a charter for the colony, and it was established in 1632.
0 Replies
 
solipsister
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 07:57 pm
@Setanta,
american indigenes would pre date these celebrations of the harvest including the vernal equinox by a bit
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 07:57 pm
@solipsister,
Which has what to do with Easter? By the way, the vernal equinox is the beginning of spring. In my admittedly not entirely comprehensive experience, people don't do harvests in spring.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 08:03 pm
I don't really have any information but it seems to me the Penitente brotherhood on northern new mexico/southern colorado might have been fairly well established by the 1650's. Surely they would have celebrated easter.
0 Replies
 
solipsister
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 08:08 pm
@Setanta,
oh you are upside down i meant autumnal and south american

can i be let off now

with a warning
0 Replies
 
Woollcott
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 08:38 pm
@farmerman,
Thanks for the information. Although you didn't say "Amish" or "Mennonite," I got the feeling these were the Germans you were referring to. Am I right? Can you give me a lead or citation to the Lancaster celebration?
Woollcott
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 08:42 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks for your reply. What I am searching for is any specific celebration of Easter, and the date when it happened.
saab
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 01:41 am
April 17th 1640 a ship arrived from Sweden to New Sweden amongst the passengers were also the new govenour and the first Lutheran priest in USA Reorus Torkillus. Probably he celebrated Easter 1641. During Torkillus time the first Lutheran church in America was built.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 02:23 am
According to the gregorian calender Easter Sunday 1640 was on April 8, which would mean Torkillus celebrated Easter on board the ship.
According to the gregorian calender Easter Sunday fell on the 31 of March 1641
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 02:58 am
@Woollcott,
You don't ask for too goddamned much, do you? Why don't you do a little of this work yourself? Find out when St. Augustine in Florida was established, and then find out on what date Easter first occurred thereafter. If you're being loony enough here to demand documentary evidence, you'll very likely never get it.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:07 am
There was a settlement at what is now Pensacola, Florida in 1559, which was abandoned in 1561. Whether or not they had priests with them celebrating the liturgical calendar i couldn't say, but it is highly likely. French Protestants founded Fort Caroline at Cape Canaveral in 1564, before being massacred by the Spanish in 1565 as heretics. I can't tell you what their attitude toward a celebration of Easter was, but they were Calvinists (once again, you could do some of this work yourself, and find out if Calvinists celebrated Easter). The oldest continuously settled site in the continental United States is St. Augustine, Florida, established in 1565. They claim bragging rights for the first Christian worship service held in a permanent settlement in what is now the United States.

Take your pick, do some of the work yourself and find a calendar.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:38 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

You don't ask for too goddamned much, do you? Why don't you do a little of this work yourself?

Woollcott wrote:

I was writing on another subject when I found I would have to know about the first celebration of Easter in America -- which I thought would be a simple and straightforward research question. I have now spent a lot of time on it, and still don't know the answer.


It would seem that you, Setanta that needs to do some reading.


Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:52 am
@dadpad,
I did that reading, DP, but it appears that the author of this thread wants it all handed to him on a platter. I think i did quite well by him in pointing out to him which were the earliest "Christian" settlements in what is now the United States. He can do some of this himself, you know.

If he just wants the earliest Christian settlement, in which Easter might have been "celebrated," that is probably Penasacola, maybe Fort Caroline, but it would definitely have been celebrated in St. Augustine. As someone familiar with how history gets written, though, i have pointed out that very likely, he will never get documentary evidence for this.

If he is concerned only about the English-speaking colonies, than his most likely candidates would be the Jamestown colony in Virginia. (All of the English-speaking colonies on the North American mainland were originally part of Virginia, at least technically, because the enterprise was named in honor of Elizabeth. But the old bitch was dead by the time Jamestown was established--named, unsurprisingly, for her successor, James VI and I. Massachusetts was actually a corporate enterprise--the Massachusetts Bay Company--but then, so was all of Virginia.)

If, however, no Anglican ministers set up shop in Jamestown before the Maryland colony was founded in 1632, that would be the most likely candidate. In either case, the same thing applies there as does in Florida--there is very likely no documentary evidence of when the first Easter celebration was observed. Just how much detail he wants to go into is, of course, up to him. In that case, it is not unreasonable to suggest that he might do the leg work himself.

I frankly can't think he did all that much work if it has never occurred to him that the answer is likely in St. Augustine sometime after 1566, given that that is the oldest continuously settled town (by Christians) in what is now the United States. However, not assuming anything about how much he knew (or how little real effort he made), i provided him with the information he would need to make his best guess. From this point forward, all he needs is information from the liturgical calendar for the relevant year--whichever one he chooses.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:09 am
I just did a search for "oldest city in the United States." Google returned one hundred forty-five million results in 33 seconds. Topping the list is St. Augustine, followed by a reference to Cahokia, which was an aboriginal city founded about 1400 years g0--but i think it is safe to assume that no Easter celebrations took place there. It had been abandoned by the time Europeans began to settle in North America. One does have to wonder what the author means by saying: "I have now spent a lot of time on it, and still don't know the answer."

But i've now done all of that leg-work for him, and have pointed out that he will likely never find documentary evidence for the event. From this point forward, he can do the rest, and determine just what level of detail he wants to get into, and how much "accuracy" matters to him. Were i writing this as a conscientious historian would do, i would write: "The earliest observation of the Easter celebration in what is now the United States very likely took place at the settlement near what is now Pensacola, which was abandoned a few years after it was established. Otherwise, one can suggest with a fair degree of certainty that it would have taken place in St. Augustine in what is now Florida, which has been continuously inhabited by Christians since 1566."

Think i should see if he needs his car washed, too?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:39 am
@Woollcott,
The AMish and Mennonites (AMish "light") didnt actually begin the bulk of immigration till after 1735 with thefirst bunch of settlers to Berks and Lehigh County. The real wave of Amish and MEnnonoite didnt occur until the 1800's.Louis PAstorius was sent by Lutheran congegationalists to "scout" out places to settle in the late 17th century and the earliest resultant waves started coming in an early as 1698. The first doucmented settlkement was in "Germantown" Pa and then there wasd a rapid diaspora that went but less than 100 miles until the late 18th century

The first German settlers to Pa were actually Lutheran mechanics and tradesmen , Sabbatarian scholars, "regular" Baptists and , in the 1730's many CAtholics. The Anabaptist sects were actually preparing their congregations during the 1700's and had sent only a few "test" wavves of individuals . Its been said that fewer than 100 anabaptist Germans imiigrated in the 1700's and then several thousand came over in the 1800's.

Today, The descendant Pa German sects in PA are predominantly the "Gay" Christian sects and are descendents of the earlier skilled craftsmen that made clocks, machinery and guns .These guys were the non AMish/Mennonite bands. AMish were exclusively farmers subject to sectarian separatist disciplines. SO, Id bet that the earliest German Easter celebrations were by the Lutheran and Catholics cause most of the traditions involve bright and seasoned foods and molded confections and "Springerlie" votive cookies that became synonymous with Christmas and Easter celebrations.
 

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