Folk Image and Customs

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Entry Category: Folk Image and Customs - Starting with F


A feud (sometimes referred to as a vendetta or private war) is a long-running argument or period of animosity, especially between families or clans. Feuds usually begin over a perceived injustice or insult. The feud cycle is fueled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence that often escalates into a “blood feud,” in which the cycle of violence involves the relatives of someone who has been killed or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing the culprits or their relatives. In theory, the cycle of killing continues until one entire family has been killed. Arkansas has had its share of feuds, particularly in the Ozark Mountains region of the state. Pioneers who came west from the southern Appalachian Mountains at the beginning …

Funeral Customs, Traditional (Ozark Mountains)

Settlers to the Arkansas Ozarks brought burial traditions with them from their home states of Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Prior to the establishment of a funeral industry with undertakers, embalmers, and factory-made caskets, every job associated with burial was handled by members of the deceased’s community. This work required practical know-how, physical strength, and access to materials, and was influenced by religious custom, folklore, and superstition. The modern death-care industry evolved from the trade of cabinet making, when stores that made and sold furniture added wooden coffins and caskets to their wares. By the late 1800s, many such businesses also offered the use of elaborate, horse-drawn hearses; burial goods (such as shrouds); and, later, embalming. The Arkansas …