Colonial New Year – March 25th

The Puritans of New England, including the Pilgrims of Plymouth in 1620, did not recognize the beginning of a new year as of January 1st. The Puritans were English Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to “purify” the Church of England from its “Catholic” practices, maintaining that the Church of England was only partially reformed.

The Puritans had come from England and England refused to go along with the rest of Europe in adopting the Gregorian calendar. The Puritans came in 1630 and established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The English year following the old Julian Calendar didn’t change until March 25, or Lady Day, when Christians celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. So the Pilgrims and Puritans marked a new year on March 25th. This new year was when rents were due, contracts began, and obligations renewed on March 25, the “New Year.”

For 132 years the early English colonies only recognized March 25th. The British mercantile class began to demand calendar reform, and the government finally relented with the Calendar Act of 1751, which declared that as of 1752, Britain and its colonies would adopt the Gregorian system, including its January 1st New Year.

Photos: Puritans

Related Blogs:

Puritans and Religious Names

Descended from Original Pilgrims

Colonial Early Records

< Return To Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.