Sunday, July 22, 2007

Puritan Trivia

The Puritans in America have had an interesting story to tell. I had always thought that the Puritans were an "extinct" sort of group, but apparantly that isn't so. You can go to A Puritan's Mind to learn more about the Puritan movement and why it's still going on.

Now, the reason I have so much interest these days in the Puritans is because I'm in the middle of writing a novel about one woman who is tried for witchcraft during one of the most turbulent times in early American history. The Salem Witch Trials took place in the 1690's and only lasted a few years at best, but they were horrific at the time. People went all out to seek out those whom they considered to be witches, and they did so mostly for noble reasons. They truly believed the Bible to the the authoritative Word of God and as such, it could be fully trusted. The problem was that they were so fearful of evil, as it was really prevalent in that day--as it is in our day--that they went a little overboard.

I'm sure innocent people were executed. And I'm just as sure some of the guilty escaped judgment (on earth.)

I find this study to be absolutely fascinating. I think it's interesting I want to pass on some tidbits that I've found along the way:

  • If a Puritan man wore long hair, he was put in stocks.

  • Curfew began at 10:00 p.m. and one had to have special permission to be out at night, such as during a wedding party.

  • Beer was the staple drink because the water in New England was considered unfit...even small children drank it. There was no "legal age limit" for alcohol.

  • Cider was also a favorite drink; rarely anybody ever drank milk.

  • Similar to the Farmer's Almanac, the New England Almanack was a popular paper to read.

  • The Puritans read the Geneva Bible, not the King James Version.

  • The Puritans were not a dour and sour people. They loved music and laughter. Music played an important role in their church services, which were quite long...with four hour sermons!

  • Puritans first preached against the wearing of periwigs.

  • Puritan funerals were very elaborate affairs and also very costly. Gifts of gloves or rings were given out to every guest invited to a funeral.

  • The Puritans preached for many years salvation by works rather than salvation by faith.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff! I didn't know much of that trivia, and I have always been interested in the Puritans also. I've just begun reading more on what they believed and comparing them to the French Huguenots of the same era. Very interesting study!