Alabama Was The First State To Declare Christmas As a Holiday

By  | December 21, 2016 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

There’s nothing like Christmas in Dixie, and the roots of Southern Christmas celebrations run deep. The American South was making merry long before it became the standard practice in other areas of the country. Alabama was the first state to declare it a legal holiday in 1836, with Louisiana and Arkansas following a couple of years later. Christmas wasn’t recognized as a federal holiday until 1870.

Christmas initially was celebrated more as a social than religious occasion in the South. However, two European tales that took early root in the region honor the birth of Jesus.

Just one of the traditions from Alabama is the tradition of a Christmas Day hunting expedition by father and son is believed to have begun in England and caught on quickly in the South, especially in Alabama.

The Christmas Day Hunt soon became a tradition all through the southern states.  It was a rite of passage between father and son and was carried on for years and years. Many Southern families continue it today.

Some Christmas celebrations from the early to mid-1800s in Alabama aren’t followed much anymore, such as playing town ball, while other traditions still are practiced, such as filling stockings, enjoying food and drink and giving gifts, though gifts may not have been as plentiful and often were homemade.

Christmas “was not a particularly important holiday” in antebellum Alabama, and that the Legislature often met on Christmas, though he said lots of members would get drunk that day “and all sorts of high jinks would go on.”

Some things never change in Alabama….Merry Christmas to you all!

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