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RURAL BLACK CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

IN LOUISVILLE, MISSISSIPPI, DURING THE 1930'S, IT WAS
COMMONPLACE TO VISIT ONE'S FRIENDS ON CHRISTMAS DAY. UPON
FIRST SEEING THE FRIEND, WE BOTH WOULD ATTEMPT TO SAY
"CHRISTMAS GIVE" FIRST. BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS DID THIS.
THE LOSER HAD TO GIVE SOME SMALL GIFT TO THE WINNER.
ADULTS MIGHT RECEIVE A DRINK; CHILDREN PERHAPS CANDY. THE
IDEA WAS TO SURPRISE THE OTHER PARTY SO SOMETIMES ONE
MIGHT HAVE TO HIDE AND JUMP OUT AT THE OTHER WHILE SHOUTING
"CHRISTMAS GIVE."
YOU KNOW, THIS WAS DURING THE DEPRESSION SO WE DIDN'T
HAVE TOO MUCH TO GIVE EVEN TO FAMILY. THERE SEEMED TO BE
SOME SENSE OF COMMUNITY PRESENT SO THAT WE JUST NATURALLY
SHARED WITH OUR NEIGHBORS. ONCE WE MOVED NORTH, AFTER
THE WAR, I NEVER HEARD OF IT AGAIN.

Submitter comment: MY FATHER'S (THE INFORMANT) FAMILY WAS RELATIVELY WELL-OFF
DURING THE DEPRESSION. HIS FATHER WORKED AS A FIREMAN FOR
THE RAILROAD AND MADE ENOUGH SO THAT THE FAMILY OWNED
THEIR FARMLAND. HIS "NOT TOO MUCH TO GIVE" WAS SOMEWHAT
MORE THAN THE AVERAGE DEPRESSION ERA RURAL BLACK FAMILY
COULD AFFORD.
THE INFORMANT LIVED IN LOUISVILLE, MISSISSIPPI UNTIL
BEING SENT OVERSEAS IN WORLD WAR II. THE FAMILY MOVED NORTH
DURING THE WAR. THE INFORMANT CAME TO DETROIT AFTER THE
WAR AND HAS LIVED IN DETROIT SINCE THEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Custom
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Gifts, gift giving at Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 09-00-1982

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