1. When do historians think the first Christmas was likely observed on the Mississippi Coast?
A. 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World.
B. 1817 when Mississippi became a state.
C. 1699 when the French built Fort Maurepas on Biloxi Bay.
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D. 1776 when the United States of America was created.
2. Why do people in South Mississippi shoot off fireworks on Christmas Eve?
A. We want to get an early start on New Year’s Eve.
B. We’ve done it since French explorers here first shot off muskets to acknowledge birth of Christ.
C. Fireworks and firecrackers aren’t legal in some neighborhoods, so it’s a fun thing to do.
D. Rebel soldiers, lonely for home, started the tradition in the Civil War by making noise with their rifles.
3. Why do many Mississippi Christmas stockings have oranges stuffed in their toe?
A. We don’t have coal, so we substitute oranges.
B. Northerners can’t grow citrus but Gulf states can, so we turned it into a one-upmanship Southern holiday tradition.
C. The color represents the gold that St. Nicholas dropped down the real stockings of poor girls who needed wedding dowries.
D. No one knows why, but no one wants to kill the quaint tradition.
4. What three states were the first in America to make Christmas a legal holiday?
A. Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama in the 1830s.
B. Connecticut, Mississippi and Louisiana, after each joined statehood.
C. Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the 1830s.
D. Mississippi led the way for all others in 1876.
5. Why are pecans so prominent in holiday Coast treats (pecan dressing, pecan pie, pralines, pecan cheese logs, etc.)?
A. Before modern transportation, pecans were so rare they were only for special occasions.
B. When pecan orchards replaced pine forests in early 20th century, the nut was so plentiful locals found many ways to use it.
C. The French brought the nut tree with them when they colonized the Coast.
D. Pecans kept residents from starving in the Great Depression.
Answers: 1C; 2B; 3C; 4A; 5B
Editor’s note: This quiz originally printed in 2009.