Charming Southern Traditions That Never Go Out of Style
Why things like thank you notes, small talk and etiquette live on in the South.
If there’s one thing that Southerners are extremely fond of, it’s their cultural heritage and traditions. And even though the U.S. is considered one of the most modern and technologically advanced countries in the world, the South continues to keep many of its traditions alive.
Despite the tech advances that are shaping these modern times and people’s interest in innovation and trading crypto on exchange platforms like Binance, old ways of life haven’t disappeared. In its 245 years of existence, the United States has had more than enough time to develop a unique culture blending customs and traditions from all over the world. And nowhere is this more obvious than in the Deep South.
This allows residents to maintain a distinct identity from other regions in the U.S. and pass on their deep-ingrained values to future generations. So, whether you’re a local or a tourist, here are some of the most beloved Southern customs and traditions that have stood the test of time.
Southern hospitality has become some sort of a catchphrase, but it’s very much a reality and a way of life for Southerners. This means locals are generally friendly and warm to pretty much everyone they meet, by default, and tend to go above and beyond to make visitors welcome into their home or the South in general. It doesn’t matter if you’re a neighbor, relative colleague or someone they’ve met for the first time. Anyone who passes their threshold will be treated with kindness, respect and warmth as if they’re part of the family.
It’s customary for people in the South to have guests over, whether it’s for a cup of sweet tea and a slice of cake or a party—and do their best to entertain them. That’s why Southerners are touted as excellent hosts.
Southerners take good manners very seriously and have no tolerance for rudeness. There are many unspoken rules and standards on how to act and behave appropriately in different social circumstances that children are taught from a very young age.
According to Southern etiquette, being polite and well-mannered is a must, no matter the context. It’s important to show respect to everyone, especially to the elders, be kind and considerate and use the proper titles when you address someone. It’s also expected to give the courtesy of a wave, bring home-cooked food on different occasions and make small talk as a part of everyday social interactions. These habits may seem outdated to some, but they’re part of the Southern charm.
Although Southerners have a ton of rules that they seem determined to follow doesn’t mean they’re stiff or unapproachable. On the contrary, striking up a conversation with someone from the South is the easiest thing in the world, and is in fact the norm here.
Given their friendly and inquisitive nature, Southerners have no problem talking to you even if they’ve never seen you before. Family and household are the most common topics of conversation when doing small talk. Some people might interpret this as intrusive behavior, but in the South, that’s the polite thing to do. So, if a Southerner comes up to you and starts asking questions, don’t hesitate to ask back and exchange a few words out of courtesy.
In this modern day and age when everyone is busy with work and other responsibilities, cooking seems like the last thing one could find time for. And yet, in the South, no Michelin-star dining experience can beat a hearty, home-cooked meal.
Southerners’ love for entertaining goes hand in hand with delicious food. Food is a love language here, and people pride themselves on their ability to prepare tasty traditional recipes that are passed down from generation to generation. Usually, each meal consists of several dishes to make sure everyone at the table is fully satisfied. So, if you’re ever invited to lunch or dinner in the South, it’s a crime to leave the table feeling hungry.
Dressing Up For Sunday service
People like to dress well in the South. That doesn’t mean everyone is a huge fashion enthusiast who wears designer clothes or is dressed to the nines on any given occasion. But Southerners pay attention to the garments they choose and make an effort to look stylish and put-together, especially when the situation calls for something more than a causal day-to-day outfit.
As it happens, Sunday service is the perfect occasion to wear one’s best clothes and look as dapper as possible. The tradition to dress up for church is pretty much alive in the South and people maintain this custom to show respect for the church and for all the other people who attend.
Thank You Notes
If a Southerner does something nice for you, which is something they often do, whether it’s sending a gift, inviting you for dinner or helping you out when you’re in a difficult situation, it’s natural to show your appreciation and gratitude by sending a thank you note.
Although a simple text message might seem like a more convenient way to address the matter, it’s best to send a handwritten note instead. This might sound a bit antiquated, but writing a thank you note by hand is so much more personal and thoughtful.
In this modern and ever-changing world, the South still has so many wonderful traditions and customs that it would be a shame for them to be forgotten. But as long as there are people out there who appreciate the good old ways, the Southern spirit will continue to live on.