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It’s officially the first day of winter and one of the oldest-known holidays in human history.
Anthropologists believe that solstice celebrations go back at least 30,000 years, before humans even began farming on a large scale.
So they hastily drew up a new charter, which they called the Mayflower Compact, promising to create a “civil Body Politick” with “just and equal laws” that would be loyal to the English king.
In ancient Egypt and Syria, people celebrated the winter solstice as the sun’s birthday.
In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated with the festival of Saturnalia, during which all business transactions and even wars were suspended, and slaves were waited upon by their masters.
Because winter was imminent and sea travel was dangerous, they decided to stay where they were rather than set out again for the Virginia Colony.
The problem was that their settlement contract specified Virginia.
They had in hand a charter to settle in the Virginia Colony, which at that time stretched up to the mouth of the Hudson River.