Until the 1980s, if you tried buying a pair of blue jeans, a place setting of flow blue china, or a blue racer snake in my home state of Connecticut on a Sunday, you would likely have found yourself singing the blues. State law kept most stores shuttered. Though many businesses are now open daily, some places lightly echo the old statutes and still maintain a weekly sabbatical out of long held custom or belief. More than a historical curiosity, it’s tribute to their unique sense of community in an age of homogenous business formulas.
Known today as a blue state for the political dominance of democrats, the color once signified the harsh colonial moral code embedded in our statutes by 1650 when playing shuffleboard, blasphemy, idleness, and failure to attend church were crimes. Denoted “blue laws,” the term’s origin has never been adequately explained, though the quaint notion that they were originally printed on blue paper is apocryphal. The longest lived and most notable of theses statutes were ones forbidding work and commerce on Sunday.