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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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KISS SOMEONE THREE TIMES STARTING ON THEIR LEFT CHEEK, MEANS THEY
ARE LOVED AND WELCOMED INTO THE FAMILY.

Submitter comment: THIS PROCESS MOVES FROM LEFT CHEEK, TO RIGHT, BACK TO LEFT.

Where learned: FRANCE

Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 07-00-1977

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The Ravens

There is a story in France about how that every time that
ravens appeared during the reign of the Hapsburgs that it
was to spell doom for the family. It started when a count
in the eleventh century was attacked by vultures but
saved by ravens and the count gave them sanctuary. Soon the
ravens became a nuisance and a century after the count's
death, the birds were destroyed and the curse started.
Each time they appeared it was a bad omen; they
appeared at Marie Antoinette's execution, Napoleon's defeat
in Russia, foretold of Maximilian's death in Mexico and
the final prophecy of the death of Archduke Franz
Ferdinand and his wife Sophia, thus ending the curse and
the house of the Hapsburgs.

Submitter comment: Learned this on a guided tour in France

Where learned: FRANCE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Bird

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French Nativity Scene

The Nativity Scene used in the French culture are called
Santons. The santons are clay figures made by artisans. Some are
colorfully painted, while others are left in the natural clay
state. French families collect these Santons and display them
during the Christmas Season. The central figures represent the
nativity scene including, the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherd,
the three Kings, and the traditional animals such as sheep, cows
and camels. In addition, many other figures represent the typical
townspeople and their occupations as they were in the nineteenth
century in Southern France.

Submitter comment: The first time Cynthia went to France, it was to study at the
University of Nice. This is where she discovered the custom of
the Santon. Since she teaches a French class at Western Michigan
University, she passes this French tradition on to the students
showing off her collection. Each time she returns to Nice, she
buys another figurine in order to expand her collection. At the
present time, she has about sixty figures in her collection.

Where learned: FRANCE ; Nice

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Clay
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Finished Product

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IN PARTS OF FRANCE, THE DEATH OF A PERSON IS NOT
ALWAYS DIRECTLY IMPLIED, IT MAY BE SAID THAT "HIS
HEAD'S COOKED" OR HE'S EMPTIED HIS CELLAR.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER TOLD ME THIS.

Where learned: MAIL ; FRANCE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 08-00-1967

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IN FRANCE ON A COUPLE'S WEDDING NIGHT, IT IS TRADITIONAL
THAT RELATIVES AND FRIENDS OF THE COUPLE DISTURB THEM
THROUGH THE NIGHT BY PULLING PRANKS AND THROWING
ROCKS AT THEIR WINDOWS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS ; FRANCE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage F545.1341

Date learned: 03-24-1971

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NOT GIVEN

FOLLOWING THE DEFEAT OF THE GERMAN ARMIES, THE ALLIES AIRDROPPED
SOME FOOD PARCELS MARKED "GIFT" TO THE STARVING CIVILIANS. THE
PEOPLE DID NOT TOUCH IT, FOR "GIFT" IN GERMAN MEANS "POISON."

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS WHILE IN FRANCE, 1945.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GARDEN CITY ; FRANCE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Occupation War

Date learned: 11-25-1971

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NOT GIVEN

FOLLOWING THE DEFEAT OF THE GERMAN ARMIES, THE ALLIES AIRDROPPED
SOME FOOD PARCELS MARKED "GIFT" TO THE STARVING CIVILIANS. THE
PEOPLE DID NOT TOUCH IT, FOR "GIFT" IN GERMAN MEANS "POISON."

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS WHILE IN FRANCE, 1945.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GARDEN CITY ; FRANCE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Occupation War

Date learned: 11-25-1971 ; 00001945 CA

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THERE IS A GESTURE IN FRANCE WHICH WHEN PERFORMED WARDS
OFF BAD LUCK OR VOIDS A BAD-EYE LOOK GIVEN TO YOU BY
SOMEONE ELSE. THE GESTURE IS TO MAKE A FIST PUTTING
YOUR THUMB IN BETWEEN YOUR MIDDLE AND THE FINGER NEXT
TO YOUR LITTLE FINGER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID SOME OF HER RELATIVES IN FRANCE ACTIVELY
USED TO PRACTICE THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; KALAMAZOO ; FRANCE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.22
SPEECH -- Body parts involved S602.12
ZZ

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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showing 8 items

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