A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

In 1752, nearly 25 years before the American colonies declared their freedom from Great Britain, the strong-willed residents of the Outer Banks, particularly those in Rodanthe, issued their own declaration

Madison County Championship Rodeo

In 1752, nearly 25 years before the American colonies declared their freedom from Great Britain, the strong-willed residents of the Outer Banks, particularly those in Rodanthe, issued their own declaration

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

In 1752, nearly 25 years before the American colonies declared their freedom from Great Britain, the strong-willed residents of the Outer Banks, particularly those in Rodanthe, issued their own declaration

Ring in the Old

In 1752, nearly 25 years before the American colonies declared their freedom from Great Britain, the strong-willed residents of the Outer Banks, particularly those in Rodanthe, issued their own declaration of independence. The British Empire had adopted the Gregorian Calendar and, with it, a new date for celebrating Christmas: December 25. But the islanders — and many others around the world — answered with a resounding “Bah, humbug!”

Thus began the quaint tradition that’s now known as Old Christmas. On this annual observance — still going strong nearly 270 years later — the islanders celebrate Christmas not only on December 25 but also on January 6, as a nod to the “Old Christmas” date that was used for thousands of years.

Over the generations, the celebration has grown to include festive music and caroling, voracious feasting, the forgiveness of old grudges, and the climactic arrival of “Old Buck,” an otherwise ornery bull (well, two people in a makeshift bull costume) that mingles with villagers and allows children to ride on his back.

If it all seems a tad strange, that’s because it is. But then again, who would have a problem with enjoying two Christmases?

This story was published on Dec 27, 2021

Jimmy Tomlin

Tomlin has been a features writer and columnist for the High Point Enterprise since 1990. His writing has won numerous state, regional, and national awards.