CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR IN TEXAS
WALTER PRESCOTT WEBB
In this issue Texas Collection presents brief accounts, taken
from various sources, of how Christmas and New Year have
been celebrated during the past centuries. The first extract
deals with the holidays as observed by LaSalle in 1686, and the
last gives an account of Los Pastores as celebrated in San An-
tonio to this day. In fairness I must say that I did not gather
these accounts, but suggested that they be sent in. Those who
contributed from their own researches are as follows: Mrs.
Marcelle L. Hamer, Miss Winnie Allen, H. Bailey Carroll, Mary
Joe Carroll, J. Villasana Haggard, William R. Hogan, and Joseph
There is no doubt that these accounts represent only a small
part of the record. Members and readers are invited to submit
passages and original documents which will throw further light
on the way Christmas and New Year have been observed in
The first white settlers in Texas, the Frenchmen of La Salle's
colony on Garcitas Creek, although faced with many perplexi-
ties, were not too busy to turn from their immediate problems
and celebrate Christmas in 1686. From Joutel's Journal of La
Salle's Last Voyage, 1684-7, (1906 edition, edited by Henry
Reed Stiles) p. 116, we learn that. ..
"Monsieur de la Sale being recover'd from his Indis-
position, Preparations were again made for his Journey;
but we first kept the Christmas Holy-Days. The Mid-
night Mass was sung, and on Twelve-Day, we cry'd The
King drinks (according to the custom of France) tho'
we had only Water: When that was over we began to
think of setting out."
This is an account of probably the first Christmas celebrated
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/. Accessed May 23, 2015.