Everything You Need to KNOW About Southern Culture

Everything You Need to KNOW About Southern Culture

Southern culture passes down family traditions from generation to generation, taking them very seriously. Southerners keep the past alive with cultural must-dos and sayings, making the South a unique and exciting place to call home.

Here’s what you need to know about Southern culture before relocating to Atlanta:

Mannerisms & Sayings

Southern Hospitality with two people smiling and shaking hands

Individuals from the South are known for boasting charm, politeness and hospitality, as they are raised to be respectful and kind. When relocating to the metro Atlanta region, you will quickly notice that people use “ma’am” and “sir” as a sign of respect. Strangers always hold the door for you, and everyone says “please” and “thank you.”

In addition, Southerners tend to have strong accents, which can sometimes take time to understand. Here are a few commonly used phrases to prepare you for your relocation:

  • “Supper” instead of “Dinner”
  • “Bless Your Heart”
  • “Y’all” instead of “You all” or “You guys”
  • “Buggy” instead of “Shopping Cart”
  • “I'm Fixen To” instead of "I'm About To"
  • “Pretty as a Peach”
  • and many more!

Southern Hospitality

Southern Hospitality. Sharing a meal

The American South cherishes Southern hospitality, where warmth and kindness extend to friends and strangers alike. Rooted in a deep sense of tradition and genuine care for others, Southern hospitality goes beyond mere politeness, creating an inviting and welcoming atmosphere for anyone who crosses its path.

Whether it’s a neighbor stopping by for a chat, a traveler seeking directions or a guest arriving at a front porch, Southerners naturally make everyone feel at home. It’s a way of life that transcends social barriers, fostering an instant connection through a shared meal, a sweet iced tea or a heartfelt conversation.

Politeness and manners are also integral to Southern hospitality, amplifying the welcoming ambiance and genuine care that defines the region’s cultural fabric. Southerners take great pride in upholding the art of graciousness in everyday interactions, offering a heartfelt “yes, ma’am” or “no, sir” to elders and strangers alike, exemplifying the courtesy deeply valued in the South.

Whether hosting a gathering or meeting someone for the first time, Southerners effortlessly blend warmth and charm into their conversations, making even the most unfamiliar faces feel like old friends. They hold open doors, assist others and express gratitude through “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” reflecting their commitment to making people feel valued and appreciated. This unique combination of genuine hospitality and manners sets Southern culture apart, creating a gracious haven where strangers are embraced as family and kindness is at the heart of every interaction.

Traditions & Activities

Atlanta Motor Speedway

While being polite and hospitable are vital aspects of Southern culture, family traditions and seasonal activities are just as important! From Southern food to football Saturdays, several Southern traditions are worth mentioning. Here are a few to get you started:

When moving to the South, you never need to worry about running out of sugar! Your neighbors have you covered. Whether you are new to the state or the neighborhood, newcomers typically shower you with cards and gift baskets as a welcoming token.

If you’re a hardcore sports fan, a casual watcher or anywhere in between, you cannot escape football in the fall. From restaurant watch parties to tailgating at Stanford Stadium to cheer on the Georgia Bulldogs, autumn Saturdays in the South are dedicated to college football! NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) also holds a special place in the hearts of many Southerners, who have a deep and passionate love for high-speed races and the thrill of watching heavily modified stock cars tear around the track. Click here to learn more about Atlanta sports!

Southern Comfort Food

Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta
Photo Courtesy of Eater Atlanta

Southern comfort food is available on every corner! From fast-food joints to sit-down restaurants, fried chicken, potatoes and sweet tea are always on the menu. On your daily commute, you might see a boiled-peanut stand or two and there is no better BBQ than from a local food truck.

Ready to begin your Southern cuisine journey? Here is a list of our favorite dishes, sides and desserts to get you started:

  • Fried Chicken
  • Biscuits and Gravy
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Jambalaya
  • Collard Greens
  • Cornbread
  • Pecan Pie
  • Gumbo
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Hush Puppies
  • Sweet Tea

Some favorite KNOWAtlanta spots include Mary Mac’s Tea RoomThree Dollar Café and more!

Embracing Nature’s Bounty

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon State Park in Northern Georgia

Southerners have an innate and deep-rooted love for nature, drawn to the breathtaking landscapes that define their region. From the majestic Appalachian Mountains to the serene coastal plains, the South offers residents a diverse range of natural wonders to explore and appreciate. The warm climate also encourages outdoor activities year-round, whether fishing in tranquil rivers, hiking through dense forests or enjoying leisure strolls under ancient oak trees draped in Spanish moss. From savoring the vibrant colors of fall foliage to relishing the sweet scent of magnolias in bloom, Southerners find solace and joy in the natural beauty surrounding them, fostering a profound connection with their environment and a commitment to preserving it for generations to come.

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of Georgia is a treasure trove of over 60 remarkable state parks, each waiting to be explored. From the breathtaking expanse of sweeping canyon views at Providence Canyon State Park to the enchanting allure of awe-inspiring waterfalls at Amicalola Falls State Park, these natural wonders beckon with the promise of unforgettable experiences. Whether you seek a tranquil retreat amidst the serene beauty of Vogel State Park’s lake and mountains or an adventure-filled escapade along the rugged trails of Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia’s state parks offer diverse options for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Harmonious Heartbeats

Southerners have an enduring and passionate love for music, which permeates every aspect of their culture. With a rich musical heritage spanning various genres, such as country, bluegrass, gospel, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, the South has given birth to numerous iconic musicians who have left an indelible mark on the global music scene.

Music is not just a form of entertainment in the South – it’s a way of life, deeply ingrained in community gatherings, religious services, and family celebrations. From toe-tapping barn dances to soul-stirring gospel choirs and lively street performances, music is a powerful means of expression, storytelling and preserving Southern traditions. This love for music fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie among Southerners as they come together to celebrate the melodies that echo through the heart and soul of the South.

Best known as the home of Music Midtown, Atlanta is a vibrant destination during the festival season. The spring and summer months offer endless entertainment with popular events like Sweetwater 420 Fest, Shaky Knees, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Candler Park Music & Food Festival, National Black Arts Festival and A3C drawing not only local favorites but also attracting significant national and international crowds.

To learn everything you need to know before relocating to metro Atlanta, follow along on our Atlanta News page. Request your FREE copy of the relocation magazine today by clicking here!