By Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour

Ornament Day is a past due spring or summer time culture that comprises cleansing a neighborhood cemetery, adorning it with plant life, protecting a spiritual carrier within the cemetery, and having dinner at the flooring. those commemorations appear to predate the post-Civil warfare celebrations that eventually gave us our nationwide Memorial Day. Little has been written approximately this practice, however it remains to be saw commonly during the Upland South, from North Carolina to the Ozarks.

Written via the world over well-known folklorist Alan Jabbour and illustrated with greater than 100 photos taken via Karen Singer Jabbour, ornament Day within the Mountains is an in-depth exploration of this little-known cultural culture. The Jabbours light up the meanings in the back of the rituals and display how the culture fostered a grassroots flow to carry the government to its provides approximately cemeteries left in the back of whilst households have been got rid of to make manner for Fontana Dam and nice Smoky Mountains nationwide Park.

Richly illustrated and vividly written, ornament Day within the Mountains provides a compelling account of a frequent and long-standing Southern cultural practic

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Extra resources for Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians

Sample text

To my right was Virgil “Bud” Crisp, son of Jim Crisp, Hardy Crisp’s brother. Bud is a musician who has returned to Swain County after living in Florida for many years. Our conversation took a musical turn, and in response to my queries about Hardy Crisp, he told me instead about his Uncle Charley, Hardy’s brother. Charley, Bud said, was every bit as talented musically as Hardy, but his talent was eclipsed by a contrary temperament that led him to argue, fight, and otherwise turn away from family and friends.

The style seems modern in its concern for distinguishing the individual from the larger community, yet, in a powerful bow toward tradition, the white gravel cre30 Decoration Day in Western North Carolina ates a clean field, like the older mounding tradition of clean-swept graves. Thus, like so many innovations within an organically developing tradition, the use of white sand or gravel is at once tantalizingly traditional and modern. The North Shore cemeteries managed by the National Park Service usually present a clean-swept, mounded style (Plates 2, 3; Figures 2-9, 3-23), but a few cemeteries, such as Proctor Cemetery, are unmounded and grassy.

Evergreen wreaths are not uncommon, and seasonal decorations at gravesites may include holly wreaths in the winter. The flat and grassy cemetery style has generated new methods and styles of decoration designed to assist mowers — or, looked at another way, to avoid the removal of decorations that often precedes mowing or the damage inflicted by mowers driven too close. In the most popular modern style, called saddle decoration, flower arrangements are placed atop the larger headstones and usually secured with a wire “saddle” straddling the stone (Figure 2-12).

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Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery by Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour
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