The year 1620 was an important one in the early history of the American people, for in that year the Pilgrim Fathers landed on the coast of America. They were Englishmen, and members of the English Established Church, but belonged t a religious party who wished to have what they considered a purer form of Protestantism. They objected e.g. to the use of the prayer book, to the minister's wearing a surplice in the pulpit, to the making of the sign of the cross in baptism and so on; for this reason they were called Puritans.
When hard laws were made to prevent the Puritans from worshipping in their own way, some of them went to Holland. But seeing that they would gradually be absorbed among the people with whom they lived, other Puritans later on made up their minds to seek a home across the Ocean.
In September 1620 forty-one families in all set sail for America in a small vessel, called the Mayflower. Unfortunately, it was a bad time of the year for a long voyage, for sixty-three days passed before the ship reached the American shores; and when the Pilgrim Fathers did land, - it was just two days before Christmas, - they found the severe North American winter almost upon them. In memory of the last English port they had touched at, they called their landing-place New Plymouth. The 22nd of December is still kept in America as Forefathers' Day to commemorate their landing.

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