June is one of the most popular months for weddings. Appalachia has many interesting customs and sayings surrounding matrimony one of which is a shivaree.
A shivaree is a loud greeting given to newlyweds on their wedding night and includes banging, hollering, and serenading. Putting the couple in a wheel barrel and pushing them around is sometimes part of the fun as well. Over the years many of the traditions have fallen by the way and I don’t know anyone personally who still observes the custom.
Pap and Granny dated a short three months before they ran off and got married. Granny tells that she was all for getting married, but after it was over she was deathly afraid to go home and face her mother.
When they told her mother, Gazzie, she warned Pap to be good to her daughter or else! He followed through on his promise to treat her right all the years they were married.
The Deer Hunter and I dated for four years before we took the plunge. We tease about how if feels like we’ve been married 40 years. It’s actually been closer to 25. Our wedding was small and inexpensive. All these years later my favorite part of the wedding was using his grandparents rings as our wedding bands.
A few other Appalachian customs or sayings concerning weddings:
- If someone sweeps under your feet you’ll never marry-I heard this one my whole life.
- The couple jumps the broom after the service to signify crossing over from single life to married life.
- The word courtin was used to describe a couple who were serious in their relationship and most likely headed for matrimony. When I was a teenager someone was always asking me if I was courtin yet.
- This last one is for all you quilters. When young ladies gathered to put the finishing touches on a new quilt they each held a piece of the quilt and someone threw a cat onto the quilt. Whoever the cat jumped off closest to was the next girl to be married.
Drop back by in a few days and I’ll share what the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English has to say about shivarees and if you’ll hop over and visit Beth at Tennessee Mountain Stories you can read a great post about weddings in Appalachia.