There are many attributes that distinguish a Southerner. This can mean having a strong accent or having unique customs, cuisine options, and traditions. With the Southern States having so much history and culture, it can really distinguish you when traveling, but only in good ways! In this article, we’ll go over 17 hallmarks of growing up in the South.
Honeysuckle Honey Gathering
Thought Catalog takes you back to your childhood by writing, “Many a southern summer is spent hanging out by the bush in your back yard, consuming about a full cup’s worth of honey out of 700 tiny flowers, and occasionally avoiding bees.” You know exactly how to extract honey from honeysuckles, and it’s one of your favorite childhood memories.
Your local church played a significant role in both your social and community lives. The church was always your center for social gatherings, and whichever church you went to said a lot about your identity. You may have been constantly asked which church you went to while at school, and your answer was extremely important.
A Love for Fried Foods
Southerners will try to fry whatever foods they can get their hands on. Deep-frying food is a significant part of Southern culture, with many people having personal anecdotes of different foods they’ve attempted to fry. The most famous of all fried foods is Southern fried chicken, which has become a delicious food eaten across the world.
As a Southerner, you’ll monogram just about anything that belongs to you. This is supported by Southern Recollection, which writes, “A monogram is not limited to one item. Initials can be etched onto almost everything, from tumblers to sweatshirts and even pillowcases! Not only are they cute and trendy, but it makes it hard for anyone to steal your stuff.”
You always dressed up in your best clothes for church on Sundays. It was a cultural tradition for you to put on your Sunday best and head to gatherings. It showed respect while in church, especially as Sunday best helped to reflect your traditional Southern values.
The Importance of a Casserole
Casseroles played an important part in Southern social events. There was always an occasion to share a casserole, whether it was a birthday or a party. Casseroles have always been a symbol of community and care, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
The New York Times writes, “Proper manners remained an important cultural marker that Southerners have worked to maintain.” It’s always been important to use titles to address people, as it shows politeness and respect. These manners would have been ingrained in you from a young age, so you don’t even remember learning them.
The Southern Pearl Tradition
There’s a cultural meaning behind wearing pearls. The importance comes from pearls being passed down through generations, and as such, it’s turned pearl-wearing into a hallmark of Southern fashion. While others may think wearing pearls is old-fashioned, you know the true meaning behind it.
Writing Thank You Notes
You understand the importance of writing a thank you note. It’s an etiquette used in the South to show respect after you’ve received a gift. This tradition has been passed down through generations and isn’t forgotten even as we become more digitally advanced. It’s important that you show your appreciation, and this is a personal way to do it.
Living off the Land
Foraging for food is seen as a tradition in the South. Cultural practices mean a person may harvest wild plants and berries and use these to create some delicious foods. Stories of foraging are even told through generations, showing just how much of an impact it has on Southern culture.
The Culture of BBQ
The BBQ plays an important role in Southern culture as it’s a chance for the community to come together. It’s seen as a symbol of hospitality and gives people a chance to catch up with one another while eating some tasty meat. They’re usually seasonal and most often carried out in the summer.
Southern Brunch Tradition
Southern Living writes, “Brunch is a long-standing Southern tradition, whether you’re celebrating on Mother’s Day, using the meal as an excuse to catch up with your girlfriends, or have made pancakes at noon a post-church family tradition.” Brunch has historical roots in the South and is most celebrated in southern cities.
If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the South, you’ve likely heard rumors about how friendly the locals are—and it’s true! Southern Living writes about Southern hospitality, saying there frequently is an “open-door policy to family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, friends of friends, and even friendly strangers,” with a polite “sir” or “ma’am” that never fails to welcome you.
There’s always been a huge emphasis on making sure you respect your elders. It’s a cultural norm when addressing adults, especially if they’re figures of authority such as parents and teachers. Having respect for your elders is a reflection of your upbringing, showing the extent of your manners.
Dinner Conversation Etiquette
You always need to make sure the conversations you bring up at dinner are appropriate. There’s a tradition of avoiding certain topics at the dinner table as it’s a time for eating, not addressing issues. Growing Up Civilized writes that you should not be speaking about topics of debate at the dinner table; these include politics and religion.
There are expectations that you always need to make sure you live up to when out in public. You maintain a respectable image in public, as it’s not just you you’re representing, but also your family. Having this decorum is a sense of social etiquette that’s stayed with you for life.
Homestyle Southern Cooking
Homemade soul food plays an important part in Southern culture. It has a huge role in family life, as it means everyone can sit down at the dinner table and catch up on their day, helping to bring the family together. Signature dishes include fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread.
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