Why Do Southerners Do These 19 Weird Things?

Written By Jill Taylor

The southern United States is filled with many peculiar customs and a unique celebration of culture, so much so that certain things can seem very odd to those from other countries—or even from different parts of the U.S. Here are 19 strange things Southerners do; and why!

Saying ‘Bless Your Heart’ as a Greeting

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If there’s one thing Southerners are known for, it’s good manners. An overly polite greeting such as ‘Bless Your Heart’ might seem strange in other parts of the world, but to Southerners, it’s a way to express concern and good manners.

Drinking Sweet Tea All Year Round

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Southerners love a good cup of sweet tea, but it can seem a strange custom to drink this particular beverage all year round instead of seasonally. According to Southern Living, it’s the “signature taste of the South.” This beverage is both cultural and refreshing in hot weather, any time of year!

The Obsession Over College Football

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With many great sports in the U.S. – and the world – you might be wondering why Southerners obsess over college football so much. College football has major significance in social and community circles, and its importance comes from the tradition that’s often passed down through families to show their pride.

Saying ‘Y’all’

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Another weird thing Southerners might say is ‘y’all’ in every other sentence. This contraction of ‘you all’ is simply their preference for inclusive conversation and for being friendly to tourists and Southerners alike. It’s also their preferred way of distinguishing between the singular ‘you’ and the plural.

Using Strange Cooking Ingredients

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While cooking ingredients such as cornmeal and okra are popular staples in Southern recipes, these can seem strange to other parts of the world. Cooking, like many other things in the South, comes from generations of tradition, and these ingredients represent agricultural heritage.

Their Eccentric Festivals

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There’s no doubt the south is where you need to go if you want a strange festival or two! Southerners celebrate events such as Roadkill Cook-Offs and their famous Mullet Toss. All of this is a way to celebrate local culture and take part in some good ol’ community bonding!

Monogramming Everything

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Another strange tradition is a Southerner’s undying need to monogram absolutely everything, particularly in fashion brands and home décor items. Known as the “timeless Southern fashion statement,” notes Atlanta Magazine, this tradition actually comes from their huge focus on family, as monogramming often highlights the family name.

Frying Everything

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Fried foods are a staple of Southern cuisine – alongside those weird and wonderful ingredients, of course – but others might question why they feel the need to fry pretty much everything, even down to vegetables. Well, a Southerner’s love for frying comes from practical cooking methods and a love for culinary innovation!

Always Talking About the Weather

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The South is prone to extreme weather conditions, so it might not be surprising that they like to comment on the changing climate a lot. Talking about the weather is a common subject of conversation, which might seem strange to anyone else, but it’s a good icebreaker tool!

Drawing Out a Goodbye

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Some countries might think it’s strange how long Southerners take to say goodbye, particularly when it often involves many more conversations between the sitting room and the car door. But these lingering goodbyes are all part of Southern hospitality, which wishes to make guests feel valued—and missed!

Casserole Celebrations

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Another weird tradition in the South is to cook a casserole for pretty much every occasion: funerals, potlucks, you name it. So why are casseroles so important? Well, it’s mainly because they’re very easy to make in large quantities, therefore perfect for a Southerner’s need to enjoy social and communal meals.

The Importance of Porch Sitting

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No Southern home is complete without a porch to while away the hours – also known as the “sacred stoop”, says the University of Miami News. Yet, non-southerners may think it’s strange to spend so much time outside the front door. But in the south, porches are a prime spot for socializing and relaxing.

Using Mason Jars for Everything

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Southerners don’t just use Mason jars for storing food—they use them for drinking from or even making homemade decorations! This weird practice reflects the Southern tradition of being resourceful and self-sufficient, as well as the love for a simpler life (with less new clutter).

Dressing Up for Church

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Attending church is an important tradition in the South, yet some might think it’s a little strange how formal Southerners dress to attend. Formal dress reflects the importance of religion in Southern life and shows respect for the church and the community.

The Obsession with Pickup Trucks

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With the wealth of vehicles on offer in the world, you might also think it a little weird how much Southerners love their pickup trucks! They’re so popular because they’re ideal for farming and outdoor activities, which are prevalent in the South.

Front Porch Swings on Every Home

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We already know how important porches are to Southerners and why, but you might have been wondering why they go the extra mile to invest in huge porch swings. Porch swings emphasize Southern hospitality as an inviting place to sit for residents and guests alike (and for those conversations about the weather).

Celebrating Mardi Gras

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Another weird custom is how Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday in French, reveals Britannica, is celebrated throughout the South, when it’s usually best known within New Orleans. Southerners prioritize Mardi Gras celebrations because they foster community spirit and celebrate the region’s French and Catholic heritage.

Cooking with Cast Iron Skillets

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Cast iron skillets are a popular choice for cooking in the South, but you might be wondering why. These skillets are prized for their flavor-enhancing abilities, which, as we now know, are important for Southern cuisine. They also have a tradition of often being used for family recipes passed down.

Saying ‘Yes Ma’am’ and ‘No Sir’

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Finally, traveling to the South might have you scratching your head over how often you’re referred to in a formal fashion, but this is just a Southerner’s way of showing respect and politeness. Southerners emphasize respect for elders, especially, and keep the tradition of good manners alive.

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