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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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NEW YEARS DAY BELIEF

IF THE FIRST PERSON TO ENTER A HOUSE
ON NEW YEAR'S DAY IS A WOMAN, THAT HOUSEHOLD
WILL HAVE BAD LUCK AND SICKNESS THROUGHOUT THE
NEW YEAR.

Submitter comment: I WAS TOLD THIS IS AN ENGLISH CUSTOM.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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BELIEF/ PRAYER

EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY WAS REQUIRED TO SAY
ONE HAIL MARY AFTER EACH MAJOR MEAL--
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER--SO THAT
THE PEOPLE IN THE FAMILY WOULD STAY PURE.

Where learned: DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 02-19-1970

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BELIEF IN THE EVIL EYE

IF SOMEONE HAS VERY VIVIDLY DARK BROWN EYES,
THEY MUST ONLY STARE AT YOU TO PLACE A HEX.
THE BELIEF IS ONE OF POLISH AMERICANS,
AND THE POLISH WORD IS OCZAROWANIA.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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SPRING TONIC

IN THE SPRINGTIME, PEOPLE OF THE PAST USED TO TAKE ONIONS COOKED
IN SYRUP AS A SPRING TONIC TO CURE ALL ILLS AND GET THEM ON
THEIR FEET AGAIN AFTER A SLOW WINTER.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 03-31-1971

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CHRISTMAS BELIEF

IF A MAN DOES NOT ENTER THE HOUSE FIRST ON CHRISTMAS
MORNING, THE HOUSE WILL BE PLAGUED WITH SICKNESS AND BAD
LUCK DURING THE COMING YEAR. (THE STRONGER THE MAN THE
BETTER THE GOOD LUCK). THIS CUSTOM IS PRACTICED BY POLISH-AMERICANS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING ; SEXIST

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Good luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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CHRISTMAS BELIEF

IF A MAN DOES NOT ENTER THE HOUSE FIRST ON CHRISTMAS
MORNING, THE HOUSE WILL BE PLAGUED WITH SICKNESS AND
BAD LUCK DURING THE COMING YEAR. (THE STRONGER THE
MAN THE BETTER THE LUCK).

Submitter comment: THIS CUSTOM IS PRACTICED BY POLISH AMERICANS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): FIRST ON CHRISTMAS

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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NUMBER BELIEF

PEOPLE DIE IN THREES, WHEN YOU HEAR OF ONE DEATH YOU WILL SOON
HEAR OF TWO MORE.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-28-1970

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"BELIEF ABOUT BAPTISM"

IF YOU REFUSE TO BE A GODPARENT, YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK
UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN A GODPARENT SEVEN TIMES. YOU MUST,
HOWEVER, ASK TO BE THE GODPARENT OF THOSE SEVEN CHILDREN.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Baptism Naming rite
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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CROUP

TO CURE THE CROUP, PUT GOOSE GREASE ON YOUR CHEST; THEN PUT
A PIECE OF RED FLANNEL OVER IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Keyword(s): COLOR ; POULTICE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 03-15-1970

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PLANT CUREALLS

IF YOU CUT A SPANISH ONION AND SIT IT AT THE FOOT OF YOUR BED
WHEN YOU ARE SICK
AND THEN OPEN YOUR WINDOW A LITTLE,
IT WILL DRAW THE SICKNESS OUT OF THE ROOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME ; GROSSE POINTE PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 11-16-1971

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CHRISTMAS

ON CHRISTMAS EVE, HAY WAS PUT ON THE DINNER
TABLE AND THE CLOTH PUT OVER THE HAY. IN THE
HAY WAS PUT SOME COIN MONEY FOR EACH PERSON
SO THEY WOULD NOT BE BROKE IN THE COMING YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Beliefs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Table setting and clearing
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw

Date learned: 03-10-1970

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CHRISTMAS EVE

STRAW IS TO BE PLACED IN ABUNDANCE UNDERNEATH THE TABLECLOTH FOR THE
CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER IN ORDER TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF THE
CHRIST CHILD.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT PRACTICES THIS CUSTOM EACH YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Table setting and clearing
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM FIXED DATE

ON CHRISTMAS EVE, EACH CHILD IN THE FAMILY WOULD KNEEL
AND RECITE THE ACTS OF FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY, AND CONTRITION
TO REMIND THE CHILDREN HOW UNWORTHY THEY WERE TO RECEIVE
THE GIFTS FROM SANTA. AT THE SAME TIME, THEY WERE
OFFERING THESE PRAYERS IN THANKSGIVING FOR THE THINGS THEY
WOULD BE RECEIVING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Santa Claus

Date learned: 02-19-1970

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CHRISTMAS RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

THE MORAVIANS CELEBRATE WHAT IS CALLED A
"LOVE FEAST" AT CHRISTMAS TIME. RIGHT INSIDE
THEIR CHURCH EACH PERSON RECEIVES A CANDLE, SWEET
ROLL, AND CUP OF COFFEE.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Menus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 04-00-1970

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CHRISTMAS - CUSTOM

THE POLISH EACH YEAR AT XMAS TAKE A BASKET
OF FOOD TO BE BLESSED BY THE PRIEST.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas Season See F645.2 for Advent Season.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 04-00-1970

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CHRISTMAS

EACH PERSON, BEFORE DINNER ON CHRISTMAS EVE, RECEIVES A
PIECE OF WHITE WAFER (ANGEL BREAD). EACH PERSON GOES TO
EVERY OTHER PERSON AND MAKES WISHES FOR HIM FOR
THE NEXT YEAR. WITH EACH WISH THE WISHER MAKES FOR
HIS PARTNER, HE BREAKS A TINY PIECE OF WAFER OFF. WHEN
HE IS FINISHED WISHING, THE WISHER EATS THE BITS
OF WAFER HE HAS BROKEN OFF. THE RECEIVER OF THE WISHES
THEN WISHES THE 1ST PERSON IN A SIMILAR WAY.

Where learned: DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Oplatki

Date learned: 03-10-1970

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

OPLATEK IS A CUSTOM PRACTICED BY POLISH-AMERICANS.
A THIN WAFER OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (LIKE A EUCHARISTIC
HOST) IS DIVIDED AMONG THE FAMILY PRESENT ON CHRISTMAS
EVE AND THE INDIVIDUALS SHARE THEIR PIECE WITH EACH OTHER
WISHING ONE ANOTHER GOOD LUCK FOR THE COMING YEAR.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Oplatki

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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MARRIAGE

IF YOU'RE SINGLE AND YOU WHISTLE AT THE SUPPER TABLE,
YOU'LL MARRY A CRAZY MAN OR WOMAN.

Where learned: TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 03-10-1970

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DEATH

IF YOU HEAR A KNOCK AT THE DOOR OR WINDOW
AND NO ONE IS THERE, OR YOU HEAR A LARGE
CRACKING SOUND WHEN ALL IS QUIET, THEN DEATH
WILL SOON COME TO A PERSON LIVING IN THAT HOUSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 03-10-1970

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