This holiday season, ring in an Appalachian Christmas.
Christmas is a special time of year no matter where you are, but there seems to be something a little bit different about an Appalachian Christmas. Maybe it’s because many of the old traditions are still alive in these mountains. Perhaps it’s because snow falls infrequently enough in the South that when it does cover the ground on Christmas Eve, it feels especially magical to young and old alike.
A Fairy Tale Setting
It’s that time of year again.
Believe it or not, the first corn maze in the U.S. was built in Annville, PA, just east of Harrisburg, in 1993. So the practice of creating an elaborate maze through a cornfield isn’t exactly an ancient Appalachian tradition. Early mountain settlers didn’t dig up their crops to create crazy shapes in their gardens to get lost or to hide from native aggressors. Corn was a valuable foodstuff to the settlers. Recreation always came second to eating. Just like today.
Easter activities are beginning to show up on area calendars as the snow in the higher elevations melts and the spring clothes come out of the attic. Easter is a special time of year for Christians who honor the resurrection of Jesus as a signal of new life.
Americans of all religious leanings enjoy the holiday as a sign of new growth, budding opportunities and renewal. Children like Easter for the mythical bunny who brings them baskets of chocolate and painted Easter eggs. In the Easter tradition, adults hide colored eggs for children to hunt down.
Appalachian towns feed the homeless during the holidays
Appalachian culture historically leads families to be fatalistic, often expecting the worse from big business, politicians and newcomers. But tempering that negative mindset are some of the biggest hearts in the country. The people of Appalachia are neighborly, hospitable, modest and brave. They are resourceful and have a sense of humor. They love the land and their country.