Two Truths and a Lie: Southern Traditions Edition


By: Emily Maggrett

6 Min Quiz

Image: urbancow/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The Southern U.S. is known for being steeped in tradition. From the clothes they wear to the foods they eat, Southerners have a number of special customs, superstitions, rituals and beliefs. Below the Mason-Dixon line, you'll encounter events that Northerners have never heard of, such as "pounding parties" and "Decoration Day." There are old wives' tales about the dangers of mirrors, the best omens for a wedding and the colors you should paint your porch. Southerners even snack differently, partaking of treats that Yankees may be shocked by, such as head cheese.

Are you a Southerner yourself, or do you just wish you were? Either way, you're going to get a kick out of this quiz. We've assembled a number of difficult trivia questions about Dixie traditions, from New Year's Day practices to what you should put on your legs when you wear a skirt. 

Each question will have three answer options, two that are true and one that is a lie. Your task is to decide which unusual answer options are true and which ones are fake news. This will be harder than you think, as Southerners are as eccentric as they are charming. Are you up for a chicken-fried challenge?🍗 Let's get quizzing!

What DON'T Southerners do to celebrate Christmas?

On Christmas Eve, Cajuns in Louisiana light bonfires along the Mississippi River in order to light the way for Papa Noel, the Cajun version of Santa Claus. Further east, South Carolinians eat shrimp and grits on Christmas Eve, a tradition celebrating Gullah cuisine and culture.


Of the following Southern superstitions about weddings, which one is made up?

For some reason, Southern lore has it that a spider getting caught on your wedding dress is good luck. Conversely, being given a knife as a wedding gift is terrible luck, as it means your marriage will end in divorce.


When is wearing white NOT considered rude?

Southerners believe that wearing white after Labor Day (i.e., once fall starts) is tacky. However, it's not as big a social gaffe as the ultimate sin: wearing a white dress to a wedding. This isn't done because it's seen as pulling focus from the bride.


Of the following drinks, which one is NOT a Southern favorite?

Served in restaurants across the South, sweet tea is a form of iced tea that includes sugar as well as additional flavorings, such as lemon and mint. Arnold Palmers, which are named after the golfer of the same name, are a blend of lemonade and ice tea. Southerners serve them at garden parties.


Which one of these is NOT a famous Southern superstition?

A tradition that comes from the Gullah people of South Carolina, the custom of painting your porch ceiling "haint blue" has spread throughout the South. The source of Southern superstitions about salt is unknown, as many cultures have similar beliefs.


True Southern ladies always wear this precious stone ... or do they?

Southern women believe that wives who wear pearls bring harmony to their marriages. Those who skip the pearls will more often find themselves getting into arguments. However, when it comes to engagement rings, Southern women prefer rings that have diamonds.


At the Kentucky Derby, which beverage is NOT enjoyed by attendees?

The Kentucky Derby is a highly formal event. Female attendees generally wear hats and dresses, while male attendees wear suits. While Slurpees are delicious, they're not welcome on this occasion.


In Southern superstition, which of these actions can bring on bad luck?

Because the number 13 is seen as unlucky, a 13-person dinner is believed to be ill-fated. Likewise, to prevent financial issues, bread should only be sliced from one end. However, while letting a black cat cross your path is supposedly bad luck, there are no bad omens associated with Irish setters.


According to Southerners, what ISN'T a "dinner on the ground"?

Although it's called a "dinner," a "dinner on the ground" is actually an outdoor church luncheon. The earliest "dinner on the ground" events were potluck picnics, but today, they're most often held in pavilions or at a grouping of picnic tables.


Which of these snacks DON'T Southerners eat?

Battered fried crawfish tails are a Southern specialty, as are fried frog legs. Perhaps because of the French influence on parts of the South, such as Louisiana, these humble forms of seafood are seen as delicacies.


In the South, when is it NOT OK to drop by unannounced?

When it comes to unannounced visits, Southerners are more relaxed than folks in other regions. It's considered normal for Southern family members or close friends to drop by whenever they like, and even less intimate friends or relatives are usually welcome.


What ISN'T Decoration Day?

Decoration Day has nothing to do with making your veranda look fancy. Instead, it's a Southern tradition related to honoring your family's dead. While it started as a sort of Confederate Memorial Day, the purpose of this custom is now to connect to your family's past.


Of the following strange traditions, which one do Southerners NOT do on New Year's Day?

Southerners believe their homes should be clean on New Year's Day, but that throwing anything away on this date will cause you to lose things next year. The superstition that a tall, dark-haired first guest will bring you luck on New Year's Day comes to the South via Scottish and England folklore.


Which clothing item or accessory do Southerners NOT wear to homecoming games?

In Texas, homecoming games are usually proceeded by homecoming dances, where it's customary for high schoolers to give their dates mum corsages. Over time, mum corsages have become larger and larger. Currently, it's not unusual for them to cover their wearer's entire torso.


At a Southern wedding, which of these traditions WOULDN'T you find?

According to Southern Living, it's customary for Southern brides to host a special, intimate luncheon for their bridesmaids before the wedding takes place. At the luncheon, bridesmaids unearth charms from a cake by pulling on the ribbons they're attached to. Each charm symbolizes a different future.


Which pie DON'T Southerners serve at Thanksgiving?

Pecan trees are native to North American and grow well throughout the South. Key lime trees are cultivated in Texas and Florida. Because of this, pecan pie and Key lime pie are common (and very popular) Southern desserts.


How would you define a "pounding party"?

According to Country Living, a "pounding party" is a very practical sort of housewarming party. At it, a newly married couple (or newly arrived couple) is given household staples in pound quantities, such as flour, butter, sugar, etc.


Which object DON'T people in New Orleans bake into their Mardi Gras cakes?

Southerners celebrate Carnival by eating king cakes. A colorful sort of French cake, king cakes always have a trinket baked into their batter — usually a bean or plastic baby figurine. The person who finds the trinket in their piece of cake has to host the next Mardi Gras party.


If clad in a dress, what DOESN'T a typical Southern woman wear on her legs?

Because the South is so warm, many women choose to wear shorts or skirts daily. Because Southerners prefer formal dress, they usually cover their legs with pantyhose, rather than going bare-legged or wearing patterned tights.


When WON'T Southerners wave?

Southerners are known for their extreme friendliness. One symptom of this extroversion is their habit of waving at anyone who passes by, regardless of whether they know them or not. Despite this generous policy, ladybugs don't usually merit a wave of recognition.


Of the following sets of items, which ones do Southerners prefer to have match?

According to Southern Living, rather than following the latest trends, Southerners tend to wear more classic styles. As part of their commitment to timeless chic, they steer clear of pattern-mixing, prefer to match their shoes to their belts and bags.


Which one of these expressions DON'T Southerners say?

When Southerners wants to say they're anxious, they describe themselves as feeling like "a cat on a hot tin roof." "Lord willing and the creek don't rise" is the Appalachian version of "knock on wood."


How DON'T Southerners celebrate Easter?

Deviled eggs are more popular in the South than elsewhere, but most Southerners would never eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, wearing new clothes on Easter is seen as lucky, while hanging Easter eggs on an indoor tree is a charming springtime ritual.


Which of these foods do Southerners NOT eat for good luck?

Southerners think that eating black-eyed peas brings them good luck and that consuming pork brings them prosperity. Ordinary onions, however, don't mean anything in Southern folklore.


How much do Southerners like monograms?

Southerners are known for monogramming everything from backpacks to shower curtains. According to Southern Living, this is because Southerners see using their initials as a way to honor their family names and pasts.


Which one of these Southern superstitions about mirrors is fake?

Southern folklore contains many warnings about the power of mirrors. As legend has it, the devil won't enter your home if he sees a mirror on your porch, as this will compel him to admire his own reflection. Similarly, gazing at your reflection is dangerous if someone has just died nearby.


Of the following statements, which one is NOT true about Southern names?

Southerners like to preserve their family names by giving them to children as first names. Double first names are similarly popular, perhaps due to French and Irish immigrants bringing this tradition with them from Europe.


Which types of food WON'T Southerners serve in ball form?

Southerners enjoy food in ball from, from savory options like crab balls, ham balls and cheese balls to sweet options like truffles and bon bons. However, despite the existence of fun hors d'oeuvres like mac 'n' cheese balls, sushi balls are not a real appetizer.


In Southern lore, what happens if you rock an empty rocking chair?

Southerners advise against rocking an empty rocking chair, as it supposedly invites ghosts to sit down. Rocking an empty rocking chair is also rumored to make you sick. However, at least this action doesn't start wind storms!


Which one of these is NOT a classic Southern fishing technique?

Noodling is the art of catching a fish with your arm. The noodler blocks a catfish hole with their hand, so that when the catfish swims out, it gets caught on it. Alternately, they'll reach into the hole and grab the fish. Gigging, on the other hand, involves stabbing frogs with a spear. "Pangling" is merely a made-up word.


Do Southerners really have all these types of barbecue, or is one of these varieties fake?

Some North Carolinians like their barbecue chopped and in vinegar sauce, while South Carolinians prefer barbecue with a mustard flavor. Tenneeseans use tomato-based barbecue sauce while Texans turn up their noses at sauces of any kind. But Worcestershire sauce barbecue doesn't exist, at least not yet.


What DON'T Southerners put in cornbread?

Southerners put a lot of things in their cornbread, from sugar and bell peppers to corn kernels, cheese and green chilis. But peanuts are rarely mixed into cornbread batter. However, some Southerners do put peanuts in Coke.


Do you know what's NOT the purpose of a groom's cake?

Groom cakes were originally sweet presents from brides to grooms. Over time, it became customary for the cake to be sliced and given away to wedding guests as a parting gift. Today, they take many forms — but "groom's breakfast" is not one of them.


Why DON'T Southerners "bury the bourbon" prior to a wedding?

If a couple doesn't want their wedding day rained out, Southern lore advises that they should bury a bottle of bourbon exactly one month before their wedding day. The bottle has to be full AND buried upside-down, or this good luck charm won't work.


Of the following items, which one is NOT a classic Southern appetizer?

Deviled eggs are a Southern classic, so much so that they're often served on their own type of dish. Peanuts, which grow well in many areas of the South, are also enjoyed boiled fresh. But lobster rolls are a Northeast specialty, not a Southern one.


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