Day 25, November daily post challenge: This is to be one of the busiest days of the season! So what am I doing here pecking this keyboard!
Surprise! Surprise! Yesterday’s post looking for recognition of the word chivaree was sure to be a bust, I thought. No one outside the south had probably ever heard of it. Naturally I was very pleasantly surprised to hear from a few people.
Catch Her-In-The-Wry had heard of it, saying it was quite common in the area of the south she lived in for awhile (she now lives in Ohio). That didn’t surprise me too much. What did is that apparently by the way she phrased her comment it may still be going on.
Gary from Holler Notes noted the chivaree is very similar to a practice mentioned in a Thomas Hardy novel, i.e., as a way to shame or demean an unmarried couple living together without the bonds on matrimony. I remember reading similar notes in my admittedly short research.
MountainWoman Silver who grew up in Mississippi and Louisiana remembers hearing her parents speak of the practice though no one in the family that she knew of ever participated as she suspects they were too straight-laced.
Mage who writes her Postcards from out of San Diego lived for a short time in Virginia. She remembers having heard about them, and no doubt it while she was living in the south. She never heard of anything like that in SD. No surprises there.
GrannyMar in Ireland says she has never heard of it, which surprised me very much. So much of the southern speech patterns of the U.S. sound very much like the English spoken by people in parts of Ireland. And we know that the southern states of this country were settled by large numbers Irish-Scots who immigrated in the 17th and 18th centuries, so I guess I just assumed the practice very possibly originated there. I had hoped she might verify my hunch.
Then Meanderings author Colleen showed up to remind me chivaree had been worked into a storyline on the Waltons tv drama in the early 1970’s. Call me a silly sentimentalist, but I still like that show. It takes me to a simpler time in this country, not that life really was easier then but as a child I didn’t have any responsibilities and nothing was my doing. That’s why every generation suffers from nostalgia at some point in their lives I suppose.
One comment especially caught my eye, that of Rebecca’s Daughter, and it made me think that there’s a lot more exploring I’d like to do about old traditions and their meanings. She reminded me of the old tradition in Scotland and other areas of the British Isles where the reigning lord had a turn with new brides BEFORE their new husbands did. Can you even imagine such a horrid practice? But yes, I do remember reading about that somewhere, and it seems to me it was portrayed in a movie I saw once. Can’t rightly remember the title, but it was certainly set in Scotland. RD wonders if chivaree might have grown out of it.
I decided to write about the custom because, just as I wrote in the post, I wondered why there was no mention in the book which I thought would have been the correct time period for such practices. My thoughts were something on the order that “no one will read it anyway and it’ll be an easy post” which hasn’t been the case for many days of this month long ritual (daily posting).
What did not surprise me was that all the commentators mention the practice in the southern part of the U.S.The biggest surprise was that so many of the comments evoked a lot more curiosity on my end for all kinds of rituals, some still practiced–some no longer practiced or remembered, but all quaint enough to warrant more research. What I thought of and wrote as a throwaway post leaves me wanting more.
A big thank you to all who responded.