HubMob Weekly Topic: Old Christmas in North Carolina
In our new world of blended families, married, divorced and re-married children and parents, part of my family now celebrates "Old Christmas."
Growing up, I remember my grandfather saying that we should celebrate Old Christmas in January so we could take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. I wasn't exactly sure what he meant, but I assumed Old Christmas corresponded with the time the Wise Men finally made it to Bethlehem.
Don, as we all called my grandfather, was a "damn yankee," a Pennsylvania native who relocated to Plymouth, NC after marrying my grandmother. They met while serving in the Army during World War II. Imgaine my surprise to learn that Old Christmas is actually a North Carolina Outer Banks tradition, not something he grew up with "up north".
It seems that when England adopted the Georgian calendar in 1752 they neglected to notify some of the colonies. The change skipped eleven days, and by the time Outer Banks communities realized they were not on schedule with the rest of the world, they refused to conform.
Eventually the celebration did indeed merge with Epiphany. Today's holiday in Rodanthe, NC includes the appearance of Old Buck.
"Legend has it that Old Buck once terrorized the townspeople until a hunter finally felled him. Today, the residents who dress in bull's costume and parade through the celebration bring Old Buck back to life," writes Eric Hause.
Some communities doubled up on the holidays - one town traveled to the other to celebrate December 25, then they switched around Januray 5. We do the same sort of double dipping, with my sisters and me generally spending December 25 with our significant others and their families, and then gathering the first Saturday in January at my mother's for Old Christmas. My Dad (no longer married to my mother) and our "steps" on his side sometimes join the Old Christmas celebration as well, which keeps the holiday schedule a bit more simple.
Our food fare emulates that of the Rodanthe revelers. We roast oysters and enjoy shrimp and whatever other seafood is reasonably available. So far we have been blessed with mild North Carolina weather for outside food prep and socializing around an open fire.
I don't know if any of us has truly taken advantage of the post-holiday sales for our gift shopping, but it sure is nice to have the option!
More about Old Christmas
- Rodanthe, North Carolina - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The Old Christmas: Then and Now
Article in The Tennessean
- OLD CHRISTMAS: Rodanthe NC ~ Packet by Eric Hause: Articles about the Outer Banks NC and the Mainlan
by Eric Hause
- Encyclopedia of North Carolina :: UNC Press
The Encyclopedia of North Carolina is the first single-volume reference to the events, institutions, and cultural forces that have defined the state.
Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url: http://hubpages.com/_ndwcopyright/hub/Old-Christmas-in-North-Carolina
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