By Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour
Ornament Day is a overdue spring or summer season culture that comprises cleansing a group cemetery, adorning it with plant life, retaining a spiritual provider within the cemetery, and having dinner at the flooring. those commemorations appear to predate the post-Civil conflict celebrations that finally 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 the world over famous folklorist Alan Jabbour and illustrated with greater than 100 images taken by way of Karen Singer Jabbour, ornament Day within the Mountains is an in-depth exploration of this little-known cultural culture. The Jabbours remove darkness from the meanings at the back of the rituals and exhibit how the culture fostered a grassroots move to carry the government to its supplies approximately cemeteries left at the back of whilst 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 provides a compelling account of a common and long-standing Southern cultural practic
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Additional info for Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians
Presently people began to congregate in the high center of the cemetery’s ridge, where, on this warm, sunny day, dogwood trees provided a little shade and low retaining walls provided places to sit. The service was about to begin. A man with a shaven head, a blue shirt, dark pants, and a tie was circulating and greeting people. Karen and I simultaneously intuited that he would be the preacher this morning, so she began taking photographs of him. At some point he spoke with her, and she described our project and explained that we would be documenting the event.
Several people described using their thumb to stretch crepe paper so that it resembled a petal. The paper flowers were affixed to wires or sticks that served as artificial stalks, then dipped in paraffin to make them rain resistant. Finally the flowers were thrust into the soft dirt of the mounds, as if growing from the grave, or otherwise distributed around the gravesite. To add to the natural appearance, some were laid against or close to the ground, while others stood erect a distance above the ground (Figures 2-10, 2-11).
Thus, in addition to its practical justifications, mounding is practiced for reasons of custom and aesthetics — it seems proper, and it is beautiful and moving to people accustomed to it. In short, mounding is both a practical expedient at the time of burial and an annual ritual of renewed devotion. As a ritual, mounding invites our deeper contemplation. We can describe the practice at four levels of meaning, all of which are simultaneously operative. At the simplest level, mounding distinguishes the grave from the surrounding neutral ground of the cemetery.
Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians by Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour