The Best Southern Graduation Traditions

Graduations are important family events; in the South, that means it's time for some good, old-fashioned traditions. Whether that means shouting, "Yeehaw!" as you walk across the stage or driving a tractor to the ceremony, we love every moment of a Southern graduation. So start whipping up a big batch of chicken salad and a few fresh peach pies, and let's dive into some of the most fascinating Southern graduation traditions.

Decorate that Cap

Some people might prefer a stately, formal graduation, but we like a little more flare. No Southern graduation ceremony is complete without a sea of well-decorated caps. Some students like to write funny quotes like, "I already forgot everything," or "This was nothing like high school musical." Others might talk about the student's future career: "Future RN," "This is what an engineer looks like," or "Off to my mission field." Still, others choose to decorate with flowers, glitter, or a well-painted picture. We just can't imagine a good graduation ceremony without this fun show of creativity and humor.

Graduation Party Decorations

Is a graduation party really a graduation party without a few mason jars and hay bales? We don't think so. Southerners love to decorate their grad parties with tradition in mind. Keep it simple and classy with baby's breath flowers and burlap, and use those mason jars for everything from drinking glasses to centerpieces to containers for a candy bar. For fabrics, we love burlap and gingham. A picnic table covered in that beautiful red checked pattern is enough to make our Southern hearts soar. But whatever decorations you choose, remember that bigger is always better—bigger party signs, bigger balloons, and most of all, a big table full of food.

Southern Food is the Best Food

If a Southerner throws a party without a huge table piled with food, is it even a party? That table should be filled with classic deviled eggs, potato salad, fried chicken, gumbo, peach cobbler, and banana cream pie. Maybe you'll get a little fancy with a sumptuous Creole jambalaya or stay traditional with a classic hummingbird cake. If you're doing parties right, no one should go home hungry. And luckily, we know that if you forget a few things, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends will all pop in with a dish to pass. That's the best thing about a Southern party: everybody pitches in to ensure it goes off without a hitch.
Whether you live here with us in the South or not, we recommend adopting some classic Southern traditions to spice up your next graduation event. Because really, no one knows how to party like those of us south of Tennessee. Grab onto some of that true Southern hospitality with a graduation party open to the whole neighborhood, with food they'll be talking about until next year. And if you're serving endless fried chicken, cobblers, pies, and deviled eggs, send us an invitation. We'd be happy to bring a card for the graduate in exchange for some of our favorite down-home traditions.