The mince pie myth
Posted: 2nd December 2016
There are many laws in the UK which are outdated and some of these may be seen as extremely odd and unfair.
These ‘legal legends’ are now regularly questioned and discussed over the internet. Is it really illegal to die in Parliament? It is a treasonable offence to stick a stamp upside down on a letter?
As we enter the festive season, once again it has been claimed that the act of eating a mince pie on Christmas day is unlawful in England. Could you really be arrested for enjoying a treat??
According to historians, Oliver Cromwell believed that Christmas was plagued with superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church which he publically despised. He also believed the tradition of Christmas was laced with Pagan rites.
Because of this festive foods and celebrations, including mince pies and Christmas puddings, were reportedly banned in Oliver Cromwell’s England. When questioned, it is believed that Cromwell argued this ban was part of his continuing efforts to tackle the nation’s issue of gluttony!
Technically speaking, the only Christmas Day on which it was illegal to eat mince pies was in 1644 and that was because it fell on a legally mandated day of fasting. This wasn’t limited to mince pies though -the population of England weren’t allowed to eat anything!!
Legislation was considered in subsequent years to abolish the celebration of Christmas altogether and it may have been frowned upon for a few years to be seen stuffing yourself with festive delights. However it was never illegal in itself.
Luckily for us, antipathy towards Christmas did not continue after Charles II became king.
So, it might not be good for your waistline - but it’s not illegal. Tuck in !!