Thursday, December 25, 2014

Old Christmas - A Southern Tradition

There are many Christmas Traditions in the South, but none so unusual as "Old Christmas." Celebrated in the area of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Old Christmas is celebrated - not on December 25, but on January 6.  

The basis for "Old Christmas" goes back to 1752, when England switched to the Gregorian Calendar which shortened the year. News traveled slow in those days, and on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the English settlers didn't get the word for decades, and had been celebrating the holiday when they always had, on what, in the new calendar, was Jan. 6.

Legend has it that the settlers didn't want to change and decided to merely keep celebrating the holiday on January 6.  Because of this, residents have found a place for both holidays. Christmas Day has become a time for family togetherness. Jan. 6, called Old Christmas, is a big community party.

Old Christmas celebrations have, in the past, been known to become rather rowdy and the celebration doesn't end until the arrival of Old Buck. Legend says that Old Buck was a wild bull that used to run amok on the Banks, and his spirit returns at each Old Christmas party in the form of a couple of folks dressed in an approximation of a bull outfit.

Old Buck runs around, makes adults laugh and scares a few children. But he’s also a reminder that this place, a finger of sand to which some of the toughest people in the world cling, is still a bit wild.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy 'Old Christmas' to you all! 

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