Appalachians - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religion. Most Appalachians are fundamentalists, with the Southern Baptist church and the Methodist church the major denominations. The current tone of Appalachian religion was set by a series of revivals that took place through the 1800s. Basic characteristics include a puritanical sense of morality, biblical fundamentalism, revivalism, fatalism, and a clergy that differs from the laity only in the extent of its zeal for universal salvation. Church organization is very informal, with neighborhoods sharing a minister who makes a monthly series of rounds. The primary goal of religious behavior is salvation or conversion through a personal experience of God. These experiences most often occur at the summer revivals, which include spirited preaching, hymn singing that builds in intensity to the point of trance, hand waving toward heaven, speaking in tongues, and faith healing.

Arts. Appalachian art, handicrafts, amusements, dance, music, and folkways in general have been brought to the attention of the general population thorough a variety of publications, including the Foxfire series of books.


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