Saturday, December 08, 2012

More Christmas Traditions

Yesterday I shared a few island Christmas traditions. Today I share a few more. (Also be sure to read the two messages I posted earlier this morning.)

Amasa Fulcher opened the Community Store in 1918. By then Christmas gift giving had become more common on Ocracoke. At Christmastime Mace would rearrange the center shelf of his store, and pile it high with toys, gifts, and other enticements for the holiday season. Blanche remembers books (Bible stories and fairy tales), dolls and other toys, games (dominoes and checkers), and clothing.

Of course, Sears & Roebuck and other mail order stores provided Christmas presents as well.

In many communities turkey or ham provided the main Christmas dinner. On Ocracoke goose was the preferred dish. Smothered in giblet gravy, and served with collards, sweet potatoes, and pone bread, it was a true southern holiday meal. Popular desserts were sweet potato pie and pineapple layer cake.

Although several Ocracoke families continued to celebrate "Old Christmas" even after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, it is only at Rodanthe on Hatteras Island that the tradition continues.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII proclaimed a new calendar to replace the old Julian calendar which had miscalculated the length of the year. In order to bring the calendar back into sync with the seasons he eliminated 10 days.

Protestant Europe initially would have none of this foolishness. But they would eventually capitulate.

By the time England adopted the new calendar, Christmas (on the Julian Calendar) now corresponded with January 5 (on the Gregorian Calendar). The town of Rodanthe still celebrates "Old Christmas" with an oyster roast, revelry, and the appearance of "Old Buck." Do an Internet search for "Rodanthe Old Christmas" for more information.

Look for still more Christmas traditions tomorrow.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the day Charles Lindbergh landed on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

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