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About the Book

Beyond the Book

256 pp., 8.375 x 11, 33 color and 87 b&w illus., 1 map, appends., notes, bibl., index

Decoration Day in the Mountains

Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians


Decoration Day is a late spring or summer tradition that involves cleaning a community cemetery, decorating it with flowers, holding a religious service in the cemetery, and having dinner on the ground. These commemorations seem to predate the post-Civil War celebrations that ultimately gave us our national Memorial Day. Little has been written about this tradition, but it is still observed widely throughout the Upland South, from North Carolina to the Ozarks.

Written by internationally recognized folklorist Alan Jabbour and illustrated with more than a hundred photographs taken by Karen Singer Jabbour, Decoration Day in the Mountains is an in-depth exploration of this little-known cultural tradition. The Jabbours illuminate the meanings behind the rituals and reveal how the tradition fostered a grassroots movement to hold the federal government to its promises about cemeteries left behind when families were removed to make way for Fontana Dam and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Richly illustrated and vividly written, Decoration Day in the Mountains presents a compelling account of a widespread and long-standing Southern cultural practice.

About the Author

Folklorist Alan Jabbour, former director of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, has published widely on folk music and folklore. For decades he and his wife, photographer Karen Singer Jabbour, worked together to document grassroots culture in the American South. Since 2004 they have documented Decoration Day from North Carolina west to the Ozarks.


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