National Hillbilly Day Date in the current year: July 4, 2024

National Hillbilly Day National Hillbilly Day is observed annually on July 4. The holiday was created to dispel the negative stereotypes associated with hillbillies and celebrate the traditions and lifestyle of people dwelling in rural areas of the Appalachian region.

Hillbilly is a loose term that refers to dwellers of rural, mountainous areas in the Appalachian region of the United States. The first settlers came to the Appalachian Mountains from England, Scotland and Ireland in the 18th century. Prior to the American Civil War, the region was pretty similar tto other rural areas of the United States, but things began to change post-war. Many other regions were rapidly developing, while the Appalachian people largely kept to themselves, and their region maintained frontier characteristics despite the frontier being pushed further to the west.

The “classic” hillbilly stereotype took its final shape during the Great Depression, when a lot of mountain residents moved from the Appalachians to Akron, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, and other major cities looking for a job. Hillbillies were perceived as backward, resentful of outsiders, and prone to violence and drug use. This stereotype has been perpetuated by pop culture and has had a traumatizing effect on some people from the Appalachian region, causing feelings of detachment, self-hatred and shame.

However, some Appalachians have reclaimed the term and embraced its positive aspects. Positive “hillbilly values” include a simple lifestyle, self-reliance and resiliency, strong work ethic, respect and love for nature, family ties, and generosity towards neighbors and people in need. Famous people who have used the term hillbilly with pride to describe themselves include chef Sean Brock, actress Minnie Pearl, and singer-songwriter Dolly Parton.

The origins of National Hillbilly Day are somewhat murky, but it is believed that the celebration was launched by Ozark Jubilee, a radio show turned television program that help popularize the term hillbilly and hillbilly music. The holiday is predictably overshadowed by the Fourth of July, but it is fitting that National Hillbilly Day coincides with Independence Day because hillbilly culture is an important part of greater American culture.

There are many ways to celebrate National Hillbilly Day. You can learn more about hillbillies and their culture, watch a movie or television show that depicts hillbillies in a positive light, listen to bluegrass music or Dolly Parton, read Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance or watch its film adaptation starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams, help dispel negative stereotypes about hillbillies and encourage people to stop using the word hillbilly as a derogatory term, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #NationalHillbillyDay.

National Hillbilly Day should not be confused with Hillbilly Days. The latter is a festival held in Pikeville, Kentucky every April. It was created to give hillbillies of all ages a chance to fully embrace their lifestyle and have fun, as well as to raise money for the local Shriners Chilldren’s Hospital.

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National Hillbilly Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, hillbillies, Appalachian people