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

By Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour

Ornament Day is a overdue spring or summer season culture that includes cleansing a group cemetery, adorning it with flora, protecting a spiritual provider within the cemetery, and having dinner at the floor. those commemorations appear to predate the post-Civil battle celebrations that eventually gave us our nationwide Memorial Day. Little has been written approximately this practice, however it remains to be saw greatly through the Upland South, from North Carolina to the Ozarks.

Written via across the world well-known folklorist Alan Jabbour and illustrated with greater than 100 photos taken by means of 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 at the back of the rituals and show how the culture fostered a grassroots circulation to carry the government to its offers approximately cemeteries left at the back of while households have been got rid of to make means for Fontana Dam and nice Smoky Mountains nationwide Park.

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

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

Sample text

It seems probable that the original sense of the phrase was “a dinner spread on the ground like a picnic” — “dinner” denoting both a midday meal and an important social meal, and “on the ground” expressing a sort of felicitous paradox regarding the outdoor communion involved.

Large freestanding flower wreaths are a regular feature of new burials, though wreaths need not be limited to flowers. 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).

The cemetery visited is on a narrow hilltop. . Coming nearer, we notice mounds of earth . . , cleared, as is the space between them, of every weed and spear of grass. The graves lie parallel east and west, so that when the last trumpet sounds all the dead may rise looking eastward. . Each grave is decorated with from one to six bunches of bright-colored artificial flowers, stuck into the earth in a row. . 2 Over the past century, various observers have noted the existence of this tradition in western North Carolina.

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