|Pilgrim Fun Facts|
Did You Find A Week?
The Pilgrims in the 1600s used the Julian Calendar. Ever since 1752, we (the American Colonies) have used the Gregorian Calendar. The reason we switched to the Gregorian calendar was because the Julian calendar slightly miscalculated the exact length of a year by eleven minutes and fourteen seconds. During the 1500s and 1600s, the calendar was off by ten days. Hence, when we look back in time with our Gregorian calendar, we find that the Pilgrim's calendar was ten days behind. So what was September 6 by the Pilgrim's calendar is September 16 by our calendar.
By 1752 the calendar had become 11 days off. So the British Parliament, to fix the problem, declared the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and renamed September 3, 1752 to September 14, 1752 to fix the eleven-day disparity.
The Parliament also declared that New Years would fall on January 1, instead of March 25. This "New Years" discrepancy is the reason why some dates have been double-dated and look like March 5, 1621/2. This means it was 1621 to them because their New Years had not yet occurred, but it is 1622 to us because our New Years falls on January 1, not March 25.
What Is a Mayflower?
The Mayflower, for which the ship of the Pilgrims is named, is Epigea repens. It is better known as Trailing Arbutus. It is a trailing evergreen belonging to the Heath Family with a white flower with a pink center.
What Kind of Flag Flew Over The Mayflower?
The flag that would have flown on the Mayflower was the King’s colors consisting of the Cross of Saint George representing England across and atop of the Cross of Saint Andrew of Scotland.
How does it differ from the British Union Jack of today?
Time Keeping in 1627 Plymouth
How do you suppose Pilgrims knew what time it was? Did they have watches? How about Grandfather clocks?
Wrist watches didn't become popular until around 1916! During the 1600s, watches were carried in your pocket on a chain. Only the very wealth could afford them. Clocks also were very expensive. Watchs and clocks were not very accurate time keepers anyway. They could lose half an hour a day and gain, say, ten minutes the next.
It wasn't until Galileo invented the pendulum in the 1630s and it was put on clocks in the 1650s that a clock could display fairly accurate time. "Grandfather clocks" were invented in the early 1660s.
An examination of the inventories of belongings of 14 of the Pilgrims show no clocks nor watches. There wasn't even a sundial. None of their wills include any either.
Why not? Probably because they didn't need them. They didn't have a bus to catch or a show to see on TV.
The Pilgrims could tell the time of day by the position of the sun in the sky. If there was an important gathering to get to, they would be called by a drummer.
Can you tell the time by the position of the sun in the sky like the Pilgrims did?
A Plimoth Christmas — Not!
The Pilgrims did not celebrate the religious holidays that we celebrate today. Like the English and Scottish Puritans, they held that customs taken from folklore and non-Christian writings were contrary to the spirit of Christianity. They knew that the dates of these celebrations were not based on the teachings of the Bible of history.
During Christmas 1620, they had only been at Plymouth for two weeks and they still had no shelter. On Christmas day they started to construct their first building, the common or storage house. Within a week the sickness that was to kill half of them.
The following Christmas there were 35 new settlers who had arrived unexpectedly on the Fortune the previous month. The village was still unfinished, housing was inadequate. Winter and the threat of starvation and another killer sickness was once more upon them.
Bradford, now Governor, wrote in his history Of Plimoth Plantation between 1630 and 1646:
On the day called Christmas Day, the Governor called them [all settlers] out to work as was used. But the most of this new company [Fortune arrivals] excused themselves and said it went against their consciences to work that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it a matter of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them. But when they came home at noon from their work, he found them in the street at play, openly; some pitching the bar, and some at stool-ball and such like sports. So he went to them and took away their implements and told them that was against his conscience, that they should play and others work. If they made the keeping of it a matter of devotion, let them keep [to] their houses; but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets. Since which time nothing hath been attempted that way, at least openly.
A Pilgrim Easter — Not!
As the various religious holidays roll around each year, often the question is asked: "How did the Pilgrims celebrate _____?" The answer is the same for all religious holidays: they didn't.
Being Separatist Christians, they believed that church holidays and rites such as Lent, Easter and Christmas were corruptions based on pagan celebrations. Funerals were graveside memorials, not a ritual. Marriage was purely a civil responsibility. They also did not believe in the use of holy water, relics, statues, or the belief in adoration of the cross, purgatory and prayers for the dead, believing that their use played on the grief and terror of those whose loved ones had died. They held that all of these smacked of superstition. There was no basis in Scripture for their existence. Conducting business, games or amusements was forbidden on the Sabbath.
For further information about the Pilgrim Church, see Robert M. Bartlett's The Pilgrim Way (Philadelphia: United Church Press, 1971) and The Faith of the Pilgrims (New York: United Church Press, 1978), and Rev. Gary L. Marks' Pilgrims Then and Now (Philadelphia: Soc. of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of PA, 2001). PA Mayflower Soc.
Constance Flynn Lagerman, 90, of Bryn Mawr, a former board member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Ardmore, died Saturday, Sept. 29, at her home.