Groups revive the spirit of Old Christmas

Ralph B. Davis rdavis@civitasmedia.com

January 7, 2014

PRESTONSBURG — Sunday was a step back in time, into an entirely different calendar, as Old Christmas was celebrated at the Samuel May House.

The Friends of Middle Creek joined the Friends of the Samuel May House joined together to host 60 people in a celebration of a bygone era.

According to Floyd Davis, Old Christmas is the date when Christmas was originally celebrated under the Julian Calendar, which suffered inaccuracies. That calendar was later replaced by the Gregorian Calendar, but some families continued to celebrate the old date, while others celebrated both.

The local tradition dates back to the 1930s, as an effort by Edith Fitzpatrick James to keep musical traditions alive. In later years, she was assisted by Kathryn Frazier.

On Sunday, the celebration included songs and stories, as well as refreshments of fruit, cookies, hot cider, tea and coffee. Contributing artists included Jennifer O’Brian, Dr. Gary Brown, Rebecca Haywood, Katheryn Goble, The Friends of Middle Creek Carolers, Debi Manual and John, Regina and Jacob Ison. The three traditions of the season were assisted by David Herford, with The First Visitor Gift; Hannah Stevens, with the Customary Children’s gift; and John D. Preston, with Speech and Prayer of the Animals.

The groups have said they plan to continue the celebration next year.