Old Christmas



from http://www.ibiblio.org and http://www.chriswig.com:

In 1752 England adopted the Gregorian calendar to replace the inaccurate Julian. The result was a loss of 12 days; September 2 was followed by September 14 and Christmas day moved from January 6 to December 25. It must have taken some time for the change to filter over to the American colonies and then to gradually penetrate the frontier. But eventually, as people began adopting the new calendar changes, the former celebration day was called Old Christmas Morning to reference what used to be.

Old Christmas refers to the celebration of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, on January 6, and was the date some old-time Appalachian communities celebrated Christmas (surviving into the latter half of the 20th century in isolated parts of eastern Kentucky) by lighting bonfires at night with much gunplay and fireworks. The custom was inported from North Britain, where the revelry of “Old Christmas” reached its climax in a rough and sometimes violent practice called “stanging,” in which a person was hoisted on a long pole and made to dangle in the air until he bought himself free.

Uncle Bud Landress and the boys perform “Christmas Time at Moonshine Hollow”:


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