Family members of various generations gather around a burial plot. One of the young men digs a hole to plant a dogwood tree while others clean up the site. A young girl lays a bouquet of fresh flowers on two of the graves while an older man speaks of how these deceased family members made a difference in their lives. He calls on another man to lead a short prayer for surviving family members.
The calendar reads Memorial Day, but in parts of the rural South, residents know it as Decoration Day.
“Decoration,” as it is sometimes called, taken from the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English, is: “An occasion on which a family or a church congregation gathers … to place flowers on the graves of loved ones and to hold a memorial service for them. Traditionally this involved singing, dinner on the ground as well as a religious service.”
YOUR TURN, iSissies
Mourning traditions vary from region to region, state to state. Do you remember Decoration Day? Does your family have other traditions regarding mourning or the honoring of deceased family members?