Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jan. 6, 2011 BCS 4th Annual Old Christmas

     Beaver Creek Storytellers produced its 4th Old Christmas celebration last Thursday evening at a new venue for this event, the 606 State Street Gallery in downtown Bristol.
There was an audience of approximately 30 folks. The Bristol Senior Choir was performing at the Paramount Theater which hurt our turnout. But there's audience to go around, thankfully.

Audience at 2011 Old Christmas

We were happy to see our old member, Wayne Rush!

2nd from left is Pat Musselman, the Producer for this event.

     Becky Vickers was the M.C. for the evening. Mimi Rockwell started off with a tale about how Old Christmas came to be an Appalachian tradition. It all started with the Julian Calendar and the lack of scientific knowledge of the time of Julius Caesar. Mathematicians had over-estimated the length of time it takes the earth to circle the sun. Leap year was added, but it was still off by a few minutes a year, but over a period of 100 years that can make too much of a difference also. Finally, Pope Gregory produced a new calendar using accurate calculations but because of animosity between England and Rome, the English refused to use his new calendar which had been named after him. This caused England and France to be on different times which caused problems for business and commerce. Finally, in the 18th century England passed a law making it illegal to use anything but the new Gregorian calendar developed by the Pope. By this time, England was 11 days ahead of France, so the law included a provision that England would do the adjusting and subtract 11 days. Therefore, when people went to bed on September 4 that year, they woke up the next morning to Sept. 15. It was also decided that Christmas would be celebrated on December 25. Just like Daylight Savings Time now, many people did not like the new calendar and refused to change important holidays. They wanted to celebrate the birth of their Savior on the same day they had always celebrated it which was January 6 and continued to do so referring to that day as Old Christmas. Many of the Scotch and Irish who settled the frontier land of the Appalachian Mountains ascribed to this belief and brought the tradition with them to America.

     Other tellers at Old Christmas were Carl Jenkins, Carole Ann Miller, Pat Musselman,Sam Samuels, and Becky Vickers.

     Becky Vickers, M.C.

     Musicians also entertained the audience. Above is a video of Johnny Garland on the harmonica and Jonathan Todd Sturgill on the guitar playing "Wildwood Flower."

     As usual, refreshments were served in keeping with the "old ways," apples, nuts, popcorn, and hot cider. BCS looks forward to keeping Old Christmas again next year.

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