Posted by ESC on September 10, 1999
In Reply to: Old home day posted by John Middleton on September 10, 1999
: Does anyone know the derivation of this phrase? From usage it seems to refer to a reunion of a group of people after a long period of separation.
I've heard the expression "old home day," although it wasn't used in my neck of the woods. But I'm guessing that it has the same meaning as "homecoming" or the "Big Dinner." As in, "Will you be at the homecoming this year?" "Are you going to the Big Dinner?"
In southern West Virginia (and I am sure other mountain regions), we had a reunion at the church once a year, in summertime.
Some people refer to it as "all-day meeting and dinner on the ground." The preacher would preach in the morning. We'd break for a dinner in a wooden, picnic area near the church. WAY too much food was prepared and served by the women of the church.
Then we'd go back in for more preaching. Some people, mostly young men, you might say ruffians, would stay outside and talk.
It was a church thing, but more than that, it was a community thing. People who had left the area for jobs in the city would always try to make it back home for the Big Dinner.
Another related expression -- no matter how long a person's has been grown and gone, he or she always refers to where they were raised as the "homeplace."
Somebody recently was quoted in the newspaper as saying mountain people (we've been labeled "Appalachians" but I hate that term) are too attached to "place." I say pooh to that statement.