Monthly Archives: December 2016

New Year countdown

Ringing out the old, ringing in the new. Everyone’s doing it tomorrow night. One New Year tradition in Appalachia is the New Year baby. The custom of using a baby to signify the New Year originated in ancient Greece, the baby symbolizing in this case not birth, but re-birth. The Germans added the twist of […]

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How the poinsettia got its name

His public service was legendary. In 1821, South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett had founded the Academy of Fine Arts in Charleston. In 1838, when he was the Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren, he had a northeast county of Arkansas named after him by that state’s governor. At that point in his career, he’d […]

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They’s heaps o folks here still believe on Old Christmas

OLD CHRISTMAS They’s heaps o’ folks here still believe On Christmas – that’s Old Christmas – Eve, The elders bloom upon the ground, And critters low and kneel around In every stall, though none I know Has seen them kneel, or heard them low, Unless, maybe, ‘t was Judith Daughn And she’s been dead these […]

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We air now aiming to give a dumb show for to pleasure the Little Teacher

I thought no more of old time play acting in the mountain country till on Christmas Eve in 1930 some of the men and boys at Gander [KY] presented for me an old mummers’ play. Later two of the men gave me a fairly complete text for the play. …All of the contributors were old […]

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Breakin’ up Christmas

Breakin’ Up Christmas is both the name for 12 days of partying, dancing, and music making ending up on January 6th, Old Christmas day, and also a song sung during that period. The tradition harks from the area that roughly includes Surry County NC, nearby Grayson and Carroll counties in VA, and the independent city […]

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