Who could resist talking about West Virginia culture? There is much to say here, and we're always looking for content. Have something to share? Use the Contact Us page. As we discover the culture of this interesting state, you can revisit these page for updates. Use the links on the left to delve into the culture of this fine Appalachian region!
About a year ago, I heard a wise and educated woman once say the foundation of the West Virginian stereotype was based on Life magazine's 1960's article on life in this state. She hypothesizes that Life magazine was very popular then and their inaccurate portrayal of WV life cemented the nation's impression of this state. Apparently, Life staffers went to the poorest part of an otherwise poor state, in the mountains where the coal mine communities thrive, and chronicled the lives of a couple of destitute families in pictures and words; the review, in her opinion, was unfavorable and the West Virginia has been living with the enigma ever since. The movie "Deliverance" didn't help, either.
During my first fall in West Virginia, I noticed something peculiar while driving to work one morning. All the cars were gone, no school busses running, and an absence of people reminded me of some eerie 1950’s science fiction movie. When I inquired of a coworker if a cloud of alien nerve gas settled over our community the night before, I was informed that this was “deer” season. Schools close, businesses close, and local governments are boarded up as everyone heads for the hills in search of the multipoint buck. Venison is very popular in these parts, and in some ways, hunting season is a chance to exact some payback for the crumpled fenders of the year before.
Here's an interesting perspective: West Virginia, as a state, has a small population. Perhaps this is why it seems that folks are interested in how they are related to one another. Often, in social events, someone will call out a name and ask if you know that person - he is a cousin or my brother in law over there in "such and such" a county. Family tradition is important to West Virginians.
We also have a sense of humor: