Thursday, December 13, 2012
Christmas at the Outer Banks with Mayor Dae O'Donnell
By Mayor Dae O'Donnell
From A Haunted Dream
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
(An excerpt from Mayor Dae O'Donnell's speech)
"Every year since I became mayor of Duck, North Carolina, I've been asked to speak at our History Museum Christmas Faire. This year is no exception, and I am happy to be here. Our Christmas traditions here on the Outer Banks go back 400 years, earlier than most in America.
Elizabethan Christmas traditions were first brought here from England by Sir Walter Raleigh. They probably included everyone being welcome in each other's homes, Mummer's plays and Morris dancing. There would have been feasting and generosity. Plenty of greenery would have been hauled in for the celebrations, and of course, a yule log.
The residents here that first Christmas probably had to do what they could for food - roasting meat, making Christmas pies, puddings, and porridge. Life was harder here than it had been back home. So many things weren't available.
We celebrate both Old and New Christmas now. Many newcomers don't know what that means.
There was a change in the calendar in 1752 when the English government adopted the Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian calendar. Eleven days were dropped from the month of September which made Christmas Day fall on December 25th, New Christmas. Many of us still celebrate Old Christmas in January.
Duck had a habit of celebrating New Christmas with drinking, too much food, and lively shooting parties. Old Christmas was kept quiet - no parties, dancing or drinking.
There was also the appearance of 'Old Buck,' a representation of a large white bull that was supposed to roam the islands. Seeing him was said to bring good luck in the coming year. No doubt more people saw him at the wilder parties during New Christmas than later during Old Christmas.
Today, we celebrate with lights and parades. There is still plenty of feasting, bonfires and oyster roasts. We celebrate the year behind us when the sea has been good, and pray for a plentiful year before us. We mourn those who no longer walk beside us, and hold our loved ones a little closer while storms howl across the islands.
Life is good for us here in Duck and getting better all the time.
Thank you very much for having me here today."
"Nice applause," Gramps said. "Good speech. You should've asked them to vote for you, Dae."
"It's Christmas. I can't campaign all the time."
"Let's go home and do some of that feasting you were talking about."
Merry Christmas from the O'Donnells in Duck, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina! May your new year be bright!
Missing Pieces Mystery #4
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
WIN A COPY FOR YOURSELF BY ENTERING YOUR NAME HERE DURING THE KILLER CHARACTERS' COZY CHRISTMAS!