Tag Archives: appalachian culture

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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Christmas Eve on Lonesome

It was Christmas Eve on Lonesome. But nobody on Lonesome knew that it was Christmas Eve, although a child of the outer world could have guessed it, even out in those wilds where Lonesome slipped from one lone log cabin high up the steeps, down through a stretch of jungled darkness to another lone cabin […]

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Fire up the Christmas pudding!

Not every place has the distinction of being named after a Christmas treat. Tradition holds that Pudding Ridge, NC, in western Davie County, got its name one rainy day in February 1781 during a Revolutionary War engagement. British General Cornwallis was driving his troops through the soggy hillsides in hard pursuit of American General Nathanael […]

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Dashing through the snow

Stephens’ “Book of the Farm” (1840) says “Winter is the especial season of man – our own season. It is the intellectual season during which the spirit of man enables him most to triumphantly display his superiority over the beasts each day that perish.” In winter, the countryman plays a conqueror who sets forth each […]

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Do you remember Grandma’s lye soap?

“Hog killing was a value for rendering out your lard and make your cracklings and we use the scraps to make soap out of. The way we made lye was everybody had an ash hopper. It’s a big square box and you put all your ashes in it that you take out of the fireplace. […]

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