Top 10 Southern Traditions You Can Participate In At Home
To people living in the South, the many intriguing southern traditions are just a way of life. Life moves a little slower, calmer, happier and a lot more peaceful there. The dwellers have an appreciation for the simple things and it seems as though the days are filled with a little extra sunshine. The South reminds you to stop and breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the gentle breeze that dries the sweat forming on your brow. If you can't travel there, here are 10 southern traditions that you can engage in anywhere.
- Sweet Tea – The southern areas of the United States are well-known for their thirst quenching sweet tea. The secret to this type of tea is adding the sugar while the water is still hot, not after it cools. The hot water allows for holding more sweetener than cold water. Also, some places even brew their sweet tea in simple syrup and then it is tempered with a bit of baking soda to take away the bitterness. Sweet tea is quick and inexpensive to make and would be a perfect addition to your next picnic or BBQ.
- Mason Jars – Why is it that everything tastes better in a Mason jar? Southern traditions don't stop at homemade preserves; they serve up that delicious sweet tea and lemonade in them too. No home or restaurant is complete without an abundance of Mason jars.
- Black-eyed Peas – These favorite legumes are essential to the South. If you happen to have the opportunity to be there for New Year's Eve, there is a good chance that you will be eating black-eyed peas shortly after midnight. From small casual gatherings to gourmet dinners, they are traditionally supposed to be the first food eaten in the New Year. According to folklore, they will grant you prosperity and luck throughout the upcoming 12 months.
Collard Greens – It is quite possible that the South is the only place that knows how to do something truly special with collard greens. This is a staple vegetable that is often prepared along with spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens and kale. They are typically seasoned with salted and smoked meats, vinegar, diced onions, salt and pepper. Keeping with southern traditions for the start of the New Year, collard greens are usually served along side black-eyed peas and cornbread. They ensure wealth for the upcoming year.
- Fried Green Tomatoes – You cannot mention southern traditions without giving recognition to fried green tomatoes and if you haven't tried them yet, you are certainly in for a treat. Cracker crumbs, breadcrumbs, flour or cornmeal are popular choices for coating the sliced tomatoes after dipping them in beaten eggs that are mixed with salt and pepper. Throw them in a frying pan with some grease and flip like a pancake when brown.
- American Flags – You almost cannot pass by a house or business in the city or the country without seeing an American flag flying proud. According to southern dwellers, no house is a home without one.
- Checkered Table Cloths – Perhaps it is a secret to a successful get together to display a red and white checkered tablecloth. You are sure to see them inside and outside, draped across picnic tables and spread out on lawns for picnics. Just seeing one makes you think of BBQ sauce, watermelon and sweet tea.
- Ghost Tales – Somehow, the people in the South always have amazing and entertaining ghost stories. These tales are passed down through generations and families and communities are close so stories often become enmeshed with secrets that should never be discussed with outsiders, except on special occasions, of course.
- Groom's Cake – Originally, this was a fruitcake that was displayed next to the bride's cake. It was not consumed at the reception but rather cut and sent home with the guests. Today, these cakes are any flavor and shape and this tradition remains the strongest in the South out of anywhere else in the country.
- Hospitality – You know you're in the South when everyone smiles at you and has something kind to say. Visitors are never strangers but rather are considered guests that are always welcome and made to feel right at home.