Southern Traditions

Life in the Southern states is as varied as the people that live there. Though many traditions were established years ago, many are still practiced today. Instead of being defined by geography, these traditions are often associated with diet, etiquette, or religion. Food and cooking create a sense of hospitality and are used to welcome guests or to bring the family together. When there is “company coming,” the china settings are often used and food is placed in serving dishes on the table instead of remaining in the kitchen. According to Southern Culture and Tradition, “After the dinner, the women help wash the dishes, put food away and clean the kitchen. This is where the best interaction takes place between these women. The men may retire in front of the TV or outside to smoke and discuss their accomplishments or look at mechanics of equipment or vehicles that may not be working properly. Many times they may just retire to the family room, relax and take a nap while the children play and the women socialize.” These types of gatherings are often held during holidays or on very special occasions. During times of tragedy, friends and family often provide large amounts of food for the ones who are grieving. The grief-stricken family is not required to play host as they would if it were a more formal gathering. Religion is a strong influence on the culture of the South and most notably in the Bible Belt. The Bible Belt, home to Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and many other denominations, is comprised primarily of states in the southeastern United States. Owning a large truck is a more recent southern tradition. The trucks are usually various Ford or Chevrolet models. The truck is often lifted and the tires are much larger than standard sizes. Trucks also have larger tail-pipes and halogen lights to make them as unique as the person driving them. Southerners often turn to sports such as football, fishing, hunting or NASCAR for entertainment. When rivals compete against each other, fans have cookouts, host tailgate parties, or paint themselves to match their favorite team’s color in a show of support and admiration. Although not limited to the South, fishing and hunting are popular sports for many Southerners. As part of the tradition, the kills are often stuffed and mounted and are then displayed as trophies in the home. NASCAR, the largest motorsport in the United States, has firmly established roots in the Southeast. According to, “NASCAR has grown to become the second-most popular professional sport in terms of television ratings inside the U.S., ranking behind only the National Football League.” The South has a uniqueness to it that can not be found anywhere else in the world. Its food, manner, styles, and entertainment are just some of the things that make it a rich culture.