Ten Little-Known Facts about New England Puritans

1. They opposed the use of musical instruments in worship services, especially organs. They believed such music distracted worshipers from their spiritual concentration.

2. A Puritan’s certainty of salvation was a sign he or she was probably damned. Uncertainty about salvation was a core doctrine.

3. Early Puritans were hostile to traditional funeral rituals. The dead were buried quickly and matter-of-factly, without ceremony or mourning.

4. All able-bodied men owed their town several days’ labor on roads each year.

5. Men socialized more often than women did.

6. Clergy did not officiate at weddings; magistrates did. The Puritans did not consider marriage a sacrament.

7. Moderate alcohol consumption was seen as socially beneficial. They drank alcohol regularly at meals.

8. Fishing was their most popular sporting pastime.

9. The Puritans enjoyed playing cards. The most popular card game was whist. They also played cribbage, quadrille, all-fours, and piquet.

10. They believed that married partners should have sex for pleasure. Sexually pleasing one’s spouse was a duty. Impotency was grounds for divorce, and women were expected to have orgasms.