If you’ve lived in Kentucky your entire life, chances are you’ve never really given these habits much thought. That’s because these unwritten rules are a part of most Kentuckian’s everyday life and there really is no need to even speak them out loud. Of course things vary a bit by county and region of our state, but when you look at Kentucky as a whole, here are 11 unwritten rules every tried and true local lives by ’til death.
1. You can't like both blue and red.
In Kentucky, basketball is life and there are two clear choices: blue or red. That is, you are either a diehard University of Kentucky fan or you cheer on the University of Louisville Cardinals. If you aren't spending your waking moments rooting for one of these teams, then chances are you just don't care at all because it's one of these beloved Kentucky teams or nothing at all.
2. The day of the Kentucky Derby is a state holiday.
This one may not be written down, but you'll find most Kentuckians celebrating on the first Saturday in May. The greatest two minutes in sports is a reason to put everything aside in the Bluegrass State and have a party. While the city of Louisville basically shuts down for the race, the rest of the state treats it as a holiday as well.
3. There's only one way to make tea.
If you order iced tea in Kentucky, it's going to be sweet. If you show up at someone's house for supper and they serve you tea, it will also be sweet. If you're visiting Kentucky, just know that your sugar intake will be a little higher those days.
4. We respect Kentucky's natural beauty.
Unless you're from Kentucky or have lived here awhile, you may not know that it happens to be one of the most beautiful states in the country. We have a deep pride for this natural beauty and most of us do our best to preserve it. And if you don't, well, you'll have a lot of angry Kentuckians.
5. The best fried chicken doesn't necessarily come from the most popular chain in Kentucky.
The delicious original recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken will always have a place in the hearts of Kentuckians. However, when it comes to the best of the best, we prefer small mom and pop restaurants, or better yet, our grandma's kitchen. Actually, everyone in Kentucky seems to think they make the best fried chicken, and we are in no position to argue.
6. If someone asks you where in Kentucky you're from, you answer with the name of a county.
Perhaps it's because there are so many small towns in Kentucky, or maybe locals are just proud of their hometown roots, but it's common practice to tell others what county you're from, rather than a town or city. The exception may be if you're from one of the few larger cities, but even still, counties seem a bit more popular.
7. Pets are family.
We love our furry friends in Kentucky. Dogs, cats, horses, chickens, goats...we love them all and they are much more than pets.
8. Always make way more food than is necessary.
If you host a party in Kentucky, you better have more than enough food and you especially never want to run out. Kentuckians like to eat, but we don't like to be rude, so it's best to have an over abundance of tasty treats on hand.
9. Biscuits must be homemade.
Actually, we prefer all of our food to be homemade, but especially biscuits. We arguably make the best in the country, so why waste such an important talent on the can variety? These melt-in-your-mouth, buttery favorites are also appropriate with any meal and are best fresh out of the oven.
10. Never pay full price for anything.
Kentuckians are seasoned bargain hunters and rarely will pay full price for anything. And why should we when our state is filled with epic flea markets, antique shops and secondhand stores?
11. We respect our elders.
They came before us, they raised us, and they deserve our respect. We were brought up to treat our elders with respect, and that unwritten rule is one that is thankfully passed on from generation to generation.
These rules may be unwritten, but in Kentucky they might as well be made into law. How many of these rules do you abide by? Any unwritten Kentucky rules that we missed? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
And if you’re desperate for more quintessential Kentucky, check out our recent article about a small Kentucky town