entirely different holiday tradition awaits visitors to the living history
village of Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Settled
by Moravians in the mid-1700s, Old Salem preserves customs from Moravia
of a Protestant sect that had suffered persecution since founder John
Hus burned at the stake in 1415, the Moravians sought a peaceful harbor
in many countries. With the grant of the 100,000-acre Wachovia Tract
in North Carolina in 1753, they finally found a home.
named their new town Salem, a word meaning peace.
for more information on the history and customs of the Moravians]
some 100 restored buildings make Old
Salem the largest original historic district dating from the
colonial era in the United States. Many buildings are open to the public,
including an apothecary, a shoemaker and the oldest authentic working
gunsmith's shop in the nation.
interpreters recreate life in the colonial village.
the Winkler bakery, traditional Moravian ginger cookies and Lovefeast
buns, plus many other goodies, are still baked in a wood-fired oven
and sold to the public.
Museum of Early Southern
Decorative Arts (MESDA), is located in Old Salem. Tickets to
Old Salem include a guided tour of the museum which houses an extensive
collection of furniture, crafts, and accessories from the colonial period
to the Civil War, including entire rooms rescued from demolished buildings.
other historic buildings, including the Old
Salem Tavern, the Winkler
Bakery, the Moravian Book &Gift Shop, T.
Bagge Merchant, and the museum store, do not require a ticket.
can tour the historic district in horse-drawn wagons and sample Moravian
chicken pie and other traditional recipes at the Old Salem Tavern.
Moravian Advent stars are the best known of the unique ornaments created
by village craftsmen. Look also for angels and other figures made by
the Old Salem tin-smiths.
traditional Moravian holiday decorations include wooden pyramids adorned
with candles, greenery, fresh fruit, and Bible verses; decorated candles;
paper Nativity scenes; and small trees hung with paper roses, apples,
and ornamental cookies. Wreaths and garlands often incorporate apples
or other fruit.
Moravian cookies, flavored with ginger and walnut, make wonderful
holiday treats or gifts.
Salemís Christmas Open House is in October. Other special holiday events
include two different Candlelight Tours of historic buildings,
and Candle Teas at the Single Brothers House.
enjoy special holiday puppet shows, and visits from St. Nicholas and
www.oldsalem.org or call 336.721.7350 for details.
the Single Brothers House, located in the historic district, the Home
Moravian Church presents a traditional Candle Tea during the
holiday season. Guests see candles being made, enjoy Lovefeast coffee
and Moravian Sugarcake, then tour the "putz," a series of
traditional holiday scenes. Visit www.candletea.org
for times and directions.
Lovefeasts are held at the Home
Moravian Church on Christmas Eve.
other Holiday Events in Winston-Salem go to the website of Visit
more on Moravian
Christmas Traditions visit our CarolinasBest blog.
in Square Dancing Today, 2003
Photo credits: Photos above
© 2004 Renee Wright ARR. Photo at right courtesy of Old Salem
SITES OR THE WEB