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DEATH FESTIVAL

DURING THE DEATH FESTIVAL IN LIBERIA THE DRUMMERS
ARE AT THEIR BEST. ONE CAN DISTINQUISH THE TRIBE
WHO IS CELEBRATING A DEATH BY THE DRUM TUNES.
THE KRU TRIBE OF WHICH I AM A MEMBER USE A KEROSENE
DRUM WHICH PRODUCES A VERY ANNOYING SOUND TO HEAR.
IT SOUNDS LIKE TEN BABIES SCREAMING TOGETHER.
THE VAI TRIBE USES A GROUND HAND DRUM WHICH IS PITCHED
VERY HIGH. THE BASSA AND KPELLE PEOPLE USE A BIG BASS
UPON WHICH LEATHERED COVERED STICKS ARE USED. ALONG WITH
THE DRUMMERS COMES THE DANCERS. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DRUMMERS
DEPENDS ON HOW IMPORTANT THE DECEASED WAS IN THE VILLAGE
OR THE COMMUNITY. A LOT OF LIQUOR IS THEN CONSUMED AND A
GIGANTIC FEAST IS PROVIDED AT THE EXPENSE
OF THE DECEASED'S RELATIVES AND CLOSE FRIENDS. AT THE BURIAL
AND AGAIN, DEPENDING ON HIS IMPORTANCE IN THE VILLAGE
AND COMMUNITY, THE DECEASED'S VALUABLE BELONGINGS WILL
BE PLACED IN HIS GRAVE. THE BELONGINGS USUALLY
CONSISTS OF CLOTHING, JEWELRIES AND FOOT WEAR. PALM OIL AND
PUSSAVA ARE PLACED ON THE THE DECEASED'S GRAVE BI- MONTHLY
TO APPEASE THE SPIRIT OF THE DEAD.

Submitter comment: DEATH IS CELEBRATED BECAUSE THE KRU, BASSA , KPELLE AND
OTHER TRIBAL PEOPLE IN LIBERIA BELIEVE THAT THE DECEASED'S
TROUBLES ON EARTH HAS FINISHED.
THERE SHOULD BE SADNESS AT BIRTH AND CELEBRATION AT DEATH.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

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PIDGIN ENGLISH IN LIBERIA

JUST NOW: RECENTLY, SOON
DASH: GIFT
MOON: MONTH
MEAT: ANYTHING ANIMAL
LOCK: CLOSE, SEAL
LEF: LEAVE IT ALONE
PASS: FATHER, MORE THAN
PART: OWNERSHIP OR POSSESSION
FOR: TO
SOFTLY: QUIETLY
SMALL: FAIR SIZED
PLAY: PARTY OR CELEBRATION
FREN: FRIEND
PROPER: REALLY
VEX: ANGRY, ANGER
CHOP: EAT
NUN : NO
YEA: YES
SORRY: REGRET
IT FINI: THE END,

Where learned: LIBERIA

Subject headings: Favorites
SPEECH -- Vocabulary

Date learned: 00001960S

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LIBERIAN PROVERBS

YOU CAN'T SPILL WATER AND THEN PICK IT UP. (WHAT ONE HAS
SAID CAN'T BE TAKEN BACK.)
A ROOSTER CAN'T CROW IN HIS FRIEND'S VILLAGE. (YOU CAN'T DO IN
ANOTHER VILLAGE WHAT YOU NORMALLY CAN DO IN YOUR OWN VILLAGE.)
BAMBOO KNOWS WHERE TO RUB HIS BOTTOM. (A WISEMAN KNOWS
WHO TO FIGHT.)
YOU SEW LOOSELY, YOU WEAR LOOSELY. (A LAZY PERSON WILL
PRODUCE LAZY WORK.)
CASSAVA LEAF IS NOT FOR GOAT ALONE. (SCHOOL IS NOT FOR
CHILDREN ALONE.)
WHEN THE LION IS NOT IN THE FOREST, THE BEARS ARE
FRISKY. (CHILDREN PLAY WHEN THE ELDERS ARE AWAY.)
WHEN AN ELDER'S TEETH IS ABOUT TO FALL APART, DON'T TOUCH THEM.
(DON'T BE CRUEL TO YOUR ELDER, YOU CAN BE CRUEL TO YOURSELF.)
AN AXE CAN CUT DOWN A BIG TREE. (THE TRUTH WILL FREE A PERSON.)
PLAY IS PLAY AND JOKE IS JOKE BUT NEVER POINT YOUR FINGER
AT A CASKET. (DON'T TEASE, IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE CONSEQUENCES.)
YOU CAN BEND A YOUNG STICK BUT NOT AN OAK TREE. (TRAIN A CHILD
WHEN THE CHILD IS VERY YOUNG.)
EMPTY POTS MAKE LOT OF NOISE. (PEOPLE WITH LITTLE
THINGS PRETEND TO OWN THE ENTIRE WORLD.)
NEVER LOOK AT A PRETTY WOMAN'S FACE. (LOOKS ARE DECEIVING.)
WOMEN ARE LIKE THE RAINBOW WITH SEVERAL COLORS. (WOMEN ARE
HARD TO SATISFY.)
A MONKEY'S HAND IS ALWAYS DARK. ( ONCE A ROGUE, ALWAYS A ROGUE.)
YOU HAVE TO CRAWL BEFORE YOU WALK. (EVERYTHING HAPPEN
IN A SEQUENCE.)
IF YOUR KNIFE CUTS YOU, THROW IT DOWN AND PICK IT UP. (IF
YOUR RELATIVE HARMS YOU, FORGIVE HIM, BUT NEVER TRUST HIM AGAIN.)
PALM NUTS DO NOT GROW ON ORANGE TREES. (EVERYTHING ON THIS
EARTH HAS A PLACE AND TIME.)
ONE TREE DOES NOT MAKE A FOREST. (IT TAKES MANY PEOPLE
TO ELECT A LEADER.)
DON'T SEND A MAN TO TAKE OFF DRY FISH. (IF YOU KNOW THAT
A MAN IS CRIMINAL, DON'T TRUST HIM WITH ANYTHING.)
IF A ROGUE COMES TO YOU, LET HIM IN YOUR HOUSE, BUT IF A LIAR
COMES TO YOU TURN HIM AWAY. (ROGUES TAKE THINGS THAT CAN
BE REPLACED, BUT THE TALES OF A LIAR HURT FOREVER.)
SOFTLY, SOFTLY, CATCHES MONKEY (NICE WORDS CAN MAKE MORE FRIENDS THA
RABBIT OR A POT OF RICE.)
ONE CAPTAIN CAN'T STEER TWO SHIPS AT THE SAME TIME. (TWO
CHIEFS CAN'T RULE A TRIBE. THEY WILL EVENTUALLY
BRING ABOUT CIVIL WAR.)
HUNGER MAKE MONKEY EAT PEPPER. (WHEN THINGS ARE ROUGH, YOU WILL
DO ANYTHING TO MAKE IT BETTER.)
THE BIG MAN IS THE SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE. (THE EDUCATED
PERSON CORRECTS WHAT THE UNTRAINED PERSON DID WRONG.)
SMALL PEANUTS ARE NOT SLAVES TO BIG ONES.
(EVERYONE IS EQUAL IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.)
FAMILY STICK CAN BEND, BUT IT NEVER BREAKS. (RELATIVES MAY
FUSS, BUT THEY WILL BE TOGETHER IN TIME OF NEED.)
A NEW BROOM SWEEPS WELL. (A NEW RELATIONSHIP HAS NO FAULTS,
IT SHINES ALWAYS.)
AN INDIVIDUAL CAN'T DRINK A WELL DRY. (IT TAKES MORE THAN
ONE PERSON TO COMPLETE A PROJECT.)
WATER IS SWEET WHEN THE WEATHER IS DRY. (YOU NEVER REALIZE
A GOOD THING UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE.)
WHAT IS DEATH TO FROG IS FUN TO A CHILD. (WHEN YOU HURT
SOMEONE, YOU DON'T REALIZE HOW SERIOUS IT CAN BE.)

Submitter comment: THESE PROVERB WERE FREQUENTLY HEARD IN MY HOUSE IN MONROVIA.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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WHY SPIDER WAIST IS TINY

SPIDER HAS ALWAYS BEEN A THIEF AND A ROBBER. HE IS
ALSO KNOWN AS A COWARD. HE IS FOREVER RUNNING,
OR IS READY TO RUN, THE MOMENT HE THINKS HE IS
DEFEATED BY ANYONE STRONGER THAN HE IS. THE SPIDER
ALSO SNEAKS UPON THOSE LARGER THAN HIMSELF BY STABBING
THEM SUDDENLY WITH POISONOUS DARTS. WITH STEALING
AND RUNNING, HE HAS DEVELOPED AMAZING SPEED AND
SURPASSING AGILITY. BUT ONCE HE OUTSMARTED HIMSELF
AND HE CAME CLOSE TO DEATH. HE WAS MAULED, LACERATED,
AND HAS RECEIVED SCARS OVER HIS ENTIRE BODY THAT HAS REMAINED
WITH HIM TODAY. IT OCCURRED DURING A FAMINE WHEN THERE WAS
HARDLY ANY FOOD AROUND. THIS PERIOD WAS VERY HECTIC FOR ALL
INCLUDING SPIDER. SPIDER STEALING HABITS BECAME VERY VICIOUS.
HE WAS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO STEAL FROM OTHERS.
IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT SPIDER WAS AFRAID TO OPERATE AT NIGHT
BY HIMSELF. NIGHT AS WE ALL KNOW IS A GOOD TIME TO STEAL.
SPIDER NEEDED A LITTLE LIGHT TO STEAL SO HE MADE FRIENDS WITH
FIREFLY. HIS STRATEGY WAS TO FORM A PARTNERSHIP WITH
THE FIREFLY, PROVIDED THE FIREFLY GIVE THE SMALL AMOUNT
OF LIGHT NEEDED FOR SPIDER'S DARK OPERATIONS. HE AND FIREFLY
WOULD STEAL A LOT OF FOOD WHILE THE ENTIRE VILLAGE WAS
ASLEEP AND DIVIDE WHATEVER THEY HAD EQUALLY. UPON MEETING
THE FIREFLY, SPIDER SAID, "HELLO, I CAN RECOGNIZE YOU BY
YOUR LIGHT". "AH AND BY MY LIGHT I CAN EASILY RECOGNIZE YOU",
SAID THE FIREFLY SARCASTICALLY. AFTER THEIR BRIEF
INTRODUCTION, THE SPIDER TRIED TO CON THE FIREFLY
"THE VIRTUE OF YOUR LIGHT WILL NOT SAVE YOU FROM
STARVATION IN THIS FAMINE". "WHAT DO YOU WANT HERE?" ASKED
THE FIREFLY ANGRILY. "IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR MY LIGHT TO
DO A DIRTY DEAL, FORGET IT, YOU MAY AS WELL BE WASTING
GLORIOUS TIME. I WILL PUT NOTHING PAST YOU". " OH, DROP YOUR
SUSPICION", THE SPIDER ANSWERED QUICKLY. "ACTUALLY I WAS
LOOKING FOR YOU WITH A PURE HEART. I DON'T WANT ANY FUSS.
I HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT FOR YOU. YOUR LIGHT CAN BE A GREAT
SERVICE TO US DURING THIS FAMINE. I COULD SAVE YOUR
LIFE OR WE COULD DIE TOGETHER." "ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT", SAID THE
FIREFLY. "THAT SOUNDS LOGICAL", SAID THE FIREFLY WEAKLY. "WHAT WILL
I GET OUT OF THIS DEAL?" "LOOK", SAID THE SPIDER. "IF I COULD
OPERATE AT NIGHT WHEN ALL ARE ASLEEP, I COULD
GET SUFFICIENT FOOD FOR US TO EAT. "ONLY IF YOU WOULD COME
ALONG AND MAKE SOME LIGHT WITH YOUR PRESENCE". "OKAY", SAID
THE FIREFLY RELUCTANTLY. "YOU ARE VERY WISE. THE GOOD ARE
SELDOM WISE. YOU HAVE HEARD THE CALL OF DUTY AND HAVE NOT
HESITATED WITH TEARS LIKE A SCARY CHICKEN". AND SO IT WAS. THE
FIREFLY AND THE SPIDER WENT OUT AT NIGHT TOGETHER. THE FIREFLY HAD
HIS LIGHT AND THE SPIDER PULLED THE BASKET OF FISH FROM THE
RIVER INTO SEVERAL BASKETS. HE ALSO STUNG THE FISH TO DEATH
AND EXTRACTED THEM ONE BY ONE FROM THE BASKETS. BY THE FIREFLY'S
DIM LIGHT HE DRAGGED THE FISH TO HIS HOUSE AND DIDN'T GIVE THE
FIREFLY ANY FISH AS WAS PROMISED BY THE SPIDER. THIS
CONTINUED UNTIL THE FIREFLY BECAME RESENTFUL AND ANGRY.
HE TOLD HIMSELF THAT HE WILL REPAY THE SPIDER FOR HIS SELFISHNESS.
THE FOLLOWING NIGHT THE SPIDER COLLECTED MORE FISH. HE WAS
ABOUT TO DRAG THEM HOME WHEN SUDDENLY THE FIREFLY PUT OUT
HIS LIGHT AND FLEW AWAY. HE ALSO DIDN'T TELL THE SPIDER
THAT HE WAS LEAVING. SPIDER IMMEDIATELY CAME TO THE CONCLUSION
THAT THE FIREFLY HAD PERISHED. SPIDER QUICKLY COLLECTED THE
FISHES AND DRAGGED HIMSELF TO A HOUSE WHICH HE THOUGHT
WAS HIS HOUSE. WHEN HE OPENED THE DOOR HE WAS GREETED BY
THE LION. THE LION QUICKLY TIED SPIDER WAIST AND BEAT HIM
UNMERCIFULLY. THE LION TOOK A BRIEF REST AND SPIDER SNEAKED
AWAY. THIS TIME HE MADE IT HOME WITH A TIED WAIST, BROKEN RIBS
AND SWOLLEN EYE. THE TIGHT CORD AROUND SPIDER'S WAIST
DIVIDED HIS BODY INTO TWO PARTS. EVEN SPIDER'S WIFE WAS
UNABLE TO UNTIE HIS WAIST FOR FEAR THAT SHE MIGHT SEPARATE
HIS TINY BODY INTO TWO PARTS. THEREFORE, SPIDER'S BODY NEVER
LOOK THE SAME AGAIN. HOWEVER, HE IS STILL KNOWN AS THE THIEF
COWARD AND RUNNER THROUGHOUT THE VILLAGES OF LIBERIA
AND AFRICA. AS FOR THE FIREFLY, HE NEVER REALLY FORGIVE
HIMSELF FOR NOT USING HIS LIGHT CORRECTLY. EVEN TO THIS DAY
HE HAS TRIED TO CORRECT HIS MISTAKE WITH THE SPIDER
BY TURNING ON ALL OF HIS LIGHTS FOR THE WORLD OF THE BUGS.
AND EVEN SO, MANY OF THEM PREFER THE DARK.

Submitter comment: THE MORAL OF THIS TALE IS THAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD
BE TRUTHFUL AND RESPECTFUL TO EACH OTHER AND
NOT TRY TO PLAY GAMES BY BEING DECEITFUL.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B246
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Characteristics of Animals
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal Tale

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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HARVEST CELEBRATION IN LIBERIA

MANY PEOPLE IN LIBERIA DEPEND ON AGRICULTURE.
AGRICULTURE DEPENDS ALSO ON FAVORABLE WEATHER
CONDITIONS. THERE ARE TWO SEASONS. THE RAINY AND THE
DRY SEASON. IF THERE ISN'T SUFFICIENT RAIN THERE
WOULDN'T BE SUFFICIENT HARVEST AND THE SITUATION TENDS TO
CREATE UNHAPPINESS IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE HAVE DEVELOPED
RITES AND CEREMONIES THAT RELATES TO RURAL LIFE.
HARVEST CELEBRATION IS AN ACTIVITY WHICH
STRENGTHENED COMMUNITY CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOLIDARITY.
THE HARVEST CELEBRATION IS USUALLY CELEBRATED AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE YEAR. IT IS ALSO A FAMILY AFFAIR.
IT IS A TIME WHEN RELATIVES COME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE THE
NEW YEAR AND TO REFLECT ON THE PAST YEAR. IT IS A TIME
OF HAPPINESS. BEFORE COLONIZATION, FAMILIES WOULD MEET AT THE
HOME OF THE OLDEST MALE RELATIVE.
AN EXAMPLE WOULD BE THE FATHER, GRANDFATHER, A NEPHEW OR
AN UNCLE OR A DISTANT MALE RELATIVE.
FAMILY MEMBERS ARE PRESENT. INDIVIDUALS CAN ONLY BE EXCUSE
IN THE CASE OF DEATH OR SERIOUS ILLNESS.
RELATIVES WHO LIVE FAR AWAY USUALLY ARRIVE AHEAD OF
SCHEDULE; THEY ARRIVE A DAY AHEAD.
ON THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR, A SMALL CELEBRATION IS HELD.
RELATIVES ARE OFFICIALLY WELCOME, THE OLDEST MALE IS
PRESENTED WITH GIFTS. THE GIFTS CONSISTS OF CORN,
CATTLE, WHEAT OR RICE. THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN USUALLY
ARE GATHERED OUTSIDE AND ARE CIRCLED BY
A FIRE. THEY CARRY ON A CONVERSATION. THE GRANDMOTHERS
SIT WITH THE CHILDREN NEAR A FIRE AND TELL FOLKTALES.
ON NEW YEAR'S MORNING, GOATS ARE SLAUGHTERED. THE YOUNG
MEN PREPARE THE GOAT FOR COOKING AND ROASTING. THE
WOMEN TRAVELS INTO THE FOREST TO GATHER WOOD. THE WOMEN
RETURN AND PREPARE THE MEAL FOR THE BIG CELEBRATION.
WHILE THE WOMEN ARE COOKING, THE MEN ARE GATHERED
IN A SPECIAL GROUP TO CONVERSE AND TO DRINK PINEWINE. A PINE IS
SHARED AMONG THE MALES. MATTERS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE
ARE DISCUSSED. VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT IS ALSO DISCUSSED.
THE HARVEST CELEBRATION IS USUALLY READY BY MID_AFTERNOON.
EVERYONE EATS AT THIS TIME. AFTER EVERYONE HAS EATEN,
THE WOMEN ARE LEFT ALONE TO PERFORM THE CLEANING.
THE MEN RETIRE TO ANOTHER LOCATION TO DISCUSS THE NEW YEAR.
AFTER CLEANING THE COOKING UTENSILS AND YARD,
THE WOMEN RETURN AND THE VILLAGE ELDERS
USUALLY PRAISE THE WOMEN FOR THE DELICIOUS MEAL
AND ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO MAKE A WISH FOR THE NEW YEAR.
AFTER THE PRAISES AND SPEECH BY THE ELDERS,
WOMEN, MEN AND CHILDREN ALIKE ARE JOINED TOGETHER
FOR A FESTIVAL WHICH INCLUDES MUSIC AND DANCE.
AT THE END OF THE MUSIC WHICH USUALLY BRING THE HARVEST
TO AN END, A GRANDPARENT LEADS ALL IN PRAYERS FOR A SAFE
JOURNEY HOME.
THIS BRING A HAPPY AND MEMORABLE CELEBRATION TO AN END.

Submitter comment: THE CELEBRATION IS HELD DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY.
WE PARTICIPATE IN THIS FESTIVAL ANNUALLY.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; BONG COUNTY

James Callow Keyword(s): IT IS ALSO SEXES ; SEPARATION OF THE SEXES ; SEXISM

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Autumn Fall Harvest Thanksgiving
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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LIBERIAN VOCABULARY

LIBERIAN FOLKLORE IS A FASCINATING TOPIC. THIS
RELATIVELY UNEXPLORED AREA OF OUR CULTURE HAS BEEN
ALMOST TOTALLY IGNORED BY SOCIAL SCIENTISTS INCLUDING
ANTHROPOLOGISTS. THIS IS PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF BELIEFS
ABOUT AFRICANS.
THESE LIBERIAN VOCABULARY COLLECTIONS THAT I HAVE GATHERED HERE
NEITHER CLAIMS LITERARY EXCELLENCE NOR AN
ENTRANCING THEME, RATHER, THEY PROFESS FIDELITY.
THE FIDELITY THAT THE VOCABULARY PROFESSES IS TO THE TRUTH.
ALSO, IT IS A DESIRE TO CALL ATTENTION TO CERTAIN QUAINT
AND INTERESTING PHASES OF THE INNER LIFE OF A MUCH
MISUNDERSTOOD SOCIETY AND RACE.
IN COMPILING THESE VOCABULARIES, THE PRIMARY GOAL
HAS BEEN TO MAKE THEM ACCESSIBLE TO ENGLISH READERS.
FINALLY, IT IS MY HOPE AND BELIEF THAT THEY WILL
RETAIN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE OF OUR NATIVE GRACE AND QUAINTNESS.
BLOW _ BREATHE
BUG_A_BUG _ WHITE ANTS
CONK_ STRIKE
DEH _ THERE
DOO _ DOOR
DASH_ PAYMENT
HANGRY _ FAMINE
HEEN _ HIS
LAY_ LIED
LAY _ LIKE
MAH _ MOTHER
OONAH _ YOUR
PICKEY _ CHILD
SABEE _ HIGHLY EDUCATED
SABEE _ SELFISH
TEM _ UNTIL
VEX _ ANGRY
WEY _ WHERE
YA _ PARDON
ZUIT _ DRESS

Submitter comment: THESE VOCABULARIES ARE NOT SPOKEN BY THE AVERAGE
LIBERIAN CITIZENS. THEY ARE FREQUENTLY HEARD AMONG
THE SECTOR OF OUR COMMUNITY WHO ARE ILLITERATE.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Vocabulary

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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EASTER MONDAY IN LIBERIA

EASTER MONDAY IS CELEBRATED AS A HOLIDAY IN MONROVIA. SCHOOLS
ARE CLOSED AND MANY GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE BUILDINGS ARE ALSO CLOSED
EASTER MONDAY USUALLY FALLS ON THE SAME MONDAY AS THAT OF THE
UNITED STATES AND OTHER CHRISTIAN NATIONS AROUND
THE WORLD. THE ONLY BIG DIFFERENCE IS THE TIME. THERE IS A FIVE
HOUR TIME DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND MONROVIA. THEREFORE,
WHEN EASTER CELEBRATION IS BEING HELD IN MONROVIA, PEOPLE ARE
ASLEEP HERE. AFTER FIVE HOURS OF CELEBRATIONS IN MONROVIA
PEOPLE ARE GETTING OUT OF BED HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. THE
CHRISTIANS IN MONROVIA CELEBRATE EASTER MONDAY BECAUSE THEY
BELIEVE THAT IT WAS AFTER THE SUNDAY THAT JESUS CHRIST THE LORD
ROSE FROM THE DEAD. THE SCHOOLS ARE THE MOST ATTRACTIVE PLACE
OF CELEBRATION. ON EASTER MONDAY, STUDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO WITNESS
A GAME BETWEEN RIVAL SCHOOLMATES. THE RIVAL SCHOOLMATES CONSISTS
OF MALES AND FEMALES. THE GAME TO BE WITNESSED IS CALLED THE
TUG-OF-WAR. THERE ARE THREE PLAYERS ON THE FEMALE TEAM AND
THE NUMBER IS UNEVEN BECAUSE MEN ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PHYSICALLY
STRONGER THAN WOMEN. THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS HOLD TRUE FOR THE MEN AS
THE WOMEN USUALLY WIN THE GAME. THE WOMEN USUALLY GO THROUGH
DIFFERENT FORMS OF EXERCISES SUCH AS KARATE, WRESTLING, JOGGING
AND MUSCLE PULLING FOR ABOUT SIX MONTHS DAILY PRIOR TO THE GAME.
THESE EXERCISES AID THE FEMALES IN THEIR STRUGGLE TO PROVE TO
THE MEN THAT IT MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE THAT MEN ARE SUPERIOR
TO THE WOMEN; WHAT IS DEFINITELY CERTAIN IS THAT TRADITIONALLY,
IN THE SIGHT OF GOD ALL IS EQUAL. THIS IS TRUE BECAUSE THE FEMALES
USUALLY WORK HARD TO PROVE THIS POINT. THE FEMALE CONTESTANTS
ARE VERY LARGE WOMEN ALSO. ABOUT SIX FEET TALL. A WOMAN OF PETITE
BUILD WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE. THE SIZE AND HEIGHT
ARE PRESENTED TO THE SPECTATORS TO SHOW THAT WOMEN SHOULD
NOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. WHENEVER THE MALES LOSE THE GAME IT
IS AND CAUSES LOT OF HUMILIATIONS FOR THEM UNTIL THE FOLLOWING
YEAR. ON THE FOLLOWING YEAR, ABOUT TWO DAYS BEFORE GOOD FRIDAY,
A REMATCH IS SCHEDULED. AT THIS TIME INSTEAD OF THE GAME
THEY THEN GET INVOLVED INTO A SPELLING CONTEST. THE WINNER OF
THE CONTEST IS THEN AWARDED WITH A CHECK OF 50 DOLLARS FROM
HIS SCHOOL AND THE FEMALE'S SCHOOL. THE MALES ARE ALSO
INTRODUCED TO A CRASH COURSE CALLED LEARNING AWARENESS.
THE CRASH COURSE IS SIMPLY AN EDUCATIONAL COURSE TO PROVE TO
THE MALE STUDENTS THAT MEN ARE NOT SUPERIOR TO FEMALES
INTELLECTUALLY. THE SUBJECT OF EASTER MONDAY FITS WELL INTO
THE REALM OF FOLKLORE, ESPECIALLY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF
CUSTOM. IT ALSO FITS WELL BECAUSE IT IS STILL PRACTICED TODAY
AND MANY MEN STILL FEEL THAT THEY ARE SUPERIOR TO WOMEN BY
PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES AND INTELLIGENCE.

Submitter comment: THE SPELLING CONTEST IS USUALLY HELD TWO DAYS PRIOR TO GOOD FRIDAY.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA

James Callow Keyword(s): SEPARATION OF THE SEXES ; SEXISM

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Bodily Activity
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Memory
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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THE LAST VISIT TO PUTU TOWN

NO ONE EVER WALKS BY PUTU TOWN AT NIGHT. VISITORS CLAIMED
THAT THEY HAVE SEEN A MYSTERIOUS COUPLE WALKING NEAR THE TOWN,
BUT, NONE OF THESE ALLEGATIONS ARE CERTAIN. HOWEVER, WHAT IS
CERTAIN IS THAT NO ONE WHO HAS EVER VISITED THIS TOWN SURVIVED.
PUTU TOWN IS LOCATED IN KRU COAST TERRITORY WHERE MY FATHER
WAS BORN AND REARED. IT IS ABOUT ONE HUNDRED MILES AWAY
FROM MONROVIA, THE CAPITAL CITY OF LIBERIA. IT IS A LOVELY PLACE
TO VISIT BECAUSE OF ITS FARMS AND HUTS. APART FROM ITS SCENERY,
IT DOESN'T HAVE A LOT OF MODERN FACILITIES, SUCH AS BIG
AND MODERN BUILDINGS AND TRANSPORTATION AS IT DOES IN MONROVIA.
GBEH AND FODAY WORKED AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL NEAR PUTU TOWN. THEY
ENJOYED THEIR WORK. THEY BOTH LOVE PEOPLE. BECAUSE OF THEIR
SIMILAR INTEREST, THEY DECIDED TO VISIT PUTU TOWN ONE DAY.
THEY WERE BOTH ADVISED NOT TO VISIT PUTU TOWN. THIS WAS ALSO THE
TIME FOR GBEH'S RETURN TO GERMANY FOR FURTHER STUDIES.
AS THE TIME FOR GBEH'S RETURN ABROAD GREW CLOSER, FODAY SPENT
MORE AND MORE TIME WITH GBEH. THEY LIVED NEAR PUTU TOWN.
THE NIGHT BEFORE GBEH WAS ABOUT TO DEPART, THEY MADE
THEIR JOURNEY TO PUTU TOWN. THEY WERE NEVER SEEN ALIVE AGAIN
AFTER THEIR VISIT. LATER, THEIR BODIES WERE FOUND IN GRANDCESS.
HOW THEIR BODIES CAME TO PUTU TOWN, NO ONE REALLY KNOWS.
THE POLICE DISCOVERED THAT THEY HAD NOT BEEN ROBBED, FOR THE
GOING AWAY GIFT THAT FODAY HAD INTENDED ON GIVING GBEH WAS
STILL IN HIS POCKET. GBEH'S WATCH WHICH WAS MADE OF PURE
GOLD WAS STILL ON HER WRIST. HOWEVER, WITH THE AUTOPSIES
PERFORMED, NO INDIVIDUAL OR MEDICAL EXPERT COULD DETERMINE THE
EXACT CAUSE OF THEIR UNTIMELY DEATH. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A MYSTERY.
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THEIR DEATH PROVED FUTILE.
THEY STILL REMEMBER THE SWEET AND INNOCENT SMILE AND LAUGH OF
GBEH. COULD SUCH A HAPPY AND FINE COUPLE TAKE THEIR OWN LIVES?
OR HAD THEY? FOR WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT GENUINE LOVE? PUTU TOWN WILL
FOREVER KEEP THEIR TRUE SECRET.
THEIR DEATH IS STILL A MYSTERY TO THE PEOPLE OF GRANDCESS.

Submitter comment: I WAS TOLD BY MY GREAT AUNT THAT WAS HOW PUTU TOWN RECEIVED
ITS NAME AND RECOGNITION.
MY 69 YEARS OLD AUNT NARRATES THIS STORY A LOT. WHATEVER HER
MOTIVES ARE, I REALLY DON'T KNOW. I CAN ONLY SPECULATE. ALSO,
AUNTY WUSU TELLS THIS STORY A LOT PROBABLY TO MAKE US AWARE
OF THE DANGERS OF LIFE. AN EXAMPLE WOULD BE FOR PEOPLE NOT
TO HAVE TOTAL CONFIDENCE IN EVERYONE HE/SHE MEETS UNTIL
PROVEN TRUSTWORTHY.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; GRAND CESS ; KRU COAST TERRITORY

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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CIRCUMCISION

CIRCUMCISION IS THE REMOVAL OF THE FORESKIN COVERING THE
PENIS. FOR THE FEMALES, THE CLITORIS IS USUALLY CUT
OFF SO THAT THE WOMAN CAN IN NO WAY BE ABLE TO
FEEL OR EXPERIENCE SEXUAL SENSATION DURING INTERCOURSE.
IT IS BELIEVED THAT HER SEX ORGANS WILL BE SOLELY USED FOR
CONCEPTION. MALE CIRCUMCISION IN LIBERIA IS ATTENDED
BY MALES AND FEMALES AND WHEN A FEMALE IS BEING
CIRCUMCISED, SHE HAS THE CHOICE OF WHOEVER SHE WOULD LIKE
TO BE IN ATTENDANCE. CIRCUMCISION IS BELIEVED ORIGINATED
DURING OR ABOUT 10,000 B. C. THE FORESKIN IS USUALLY
TIED AND REMOVED AND SHOULD BE DONE WITHOUT TEARS OR
SCREAMING FROM THE YOUNG MALE. THIS IS A SIGN OF MANHOOD.
IF HE SHOULD CRY OR SCREAM, THAT GESTURE REPRESENTS
COWARDICE. IT IS ALSO SYMBOLIC OF THE CULTURE FOR A
YOUNG MAN TO WITHSTAND PAIN. NO TEARS OR SCREAMS SHOWS
A BIG SACRIFICE FOR THE YOUNG MALE AND HIS PARENTS. IF THE
YOUNG MALE DOESN'T CRY, HE IS USUALLY REWARDED WITH MANY
MATERIAL THINGS SUCH AS MONEY, CLOTHES, AND FOOD. IF HE
CRIES, HIS RELATIVES WILL FEAR FOR MANY YEARS THAT
UNTIL PROVEN WRONG, HE MIGHT EXHIBIT CHARACTERISTICS
OF A LAZY OR WEAK INDIVIDUAL.
CIRCUMCISION OCCURS EVERY FOUR YEARS. INCIDENTALLY,
THIS NOVEMBER, MANY CIRCUMCISION WILL TAKE PLACE. MANY
VILLAGES IN LIBERIA WILL BE THE FOCUS OF CIRCUMCISION
RITES. IT IS A FORM OF INITIATION INTO THE AFRICAN
SOCIETY AND MANHOOD. IT OCCURS WHEN A MALE REACHES THE AGE
OF TWELVE. CIRCUMCISION ALSO IN MANY TRIBAL VILLAGES
SUCCEEDS MARRIAGE. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED THAT CIRCUMCISION
SEPARATES THE YOUNG MALE WHO HAS BEEN CIRCUMCISED FROM
THE ONES WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN CIRCUMCISED. A INITIATION MARK
CAN ALSO BE SHOWN ON A MALE'S BACK. UNCIRCUMCISED MEN
USUALLY HAVE VERY LARGE PENIS. IT PENETRATES THE FEMALE'S
WOMB SHARPLY WHEN IT ENTERS IT. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED
THAT UNCIRCUMCISED MEN ARE FEAR AMONG WOMEN. THEY ARE
FEAR SEXUALLY. MANY PARENTS AND RELATIVES FEAR FOR THEIR
FEMALE'S HEALTH IF MARRIAGE WAS TO COME ABOUT FROM ONE OF
THESE MEN. THEY ARE NOT HAPPY MEN. THERE, TO GET AWAY FROM
THE MISERY, A VISIT TO A JUJUMAN OFTEN TIMES HELP OUT.
THE JUJUMAN CAN BE HELPFUL BY ATTACHING THE PREPUCE WITH A
RING. THIS RING HELPS THE UNCIRCUMCISED MAN NOT TO PENETRATE
THE FEMALE'S WOMB DEEPLY.HIS CHANCES OF FERTILITY CAN
ALSO BE HELPED. IT MIGHT ALSO INCREASE HIS SPERM. HIS
SEXUAL INTERCOURSE CAN ALSO BECOME SATISFYING INSTEAD
OF PAINFUL FOR HIS PARTNER. THE WORD UNCIRCUMCISED IS
A CURSE WORD. IT IS ALSO A DEGRADING WORD FOR THE MALES.
UNCIRCUMCISED IS NOT A CURSE WORD FOR FEMALES. SHE SIMPLY
ACCEPTS HER CONDITION. SHE LEARNS TO LIVE WITH IT.
THE FEMALE'S CLITORIS SIMPLY CAN'T BE REPLACED. SHE DOESN'T
DARE DO ANY THING ABOUT IT ALSO. A YOUNG MAN WHO IS
TO BE CIRCUMCISED DAY BEGINS AT DAWN. HE EATS GARI
WHICH IS HIS BREAKFAST. WHEN HE FINISHES, HE IS UNDRESS
BY HIS MATERNAL UNCLE WITH BEADS. THE BEADS ARE PLACED
AROUND HIS WAIST AND HIS HANDS. HIS NECK IS ALSO DECORATED WITH
COW ORNAMENTS. A GOAT IS SACRIFICED IN HONOR OF THE YOUNG MAN.
THIS IS DONE AROUND 12 NOON. AT ABOUT TWO O'CLOCK, THE
YOUNG MAN TO BE CIRCUMCISED IS THEN THROWN INTO A COLD
STEAM. WHEN HE GETS OUT OF THE STEAM, CIRCUMCISION BEGINS.
CIRCUMCISION FOR THE FEMALES IS NOT DISCUSSED OFTEN AS
IT IS DISCUSSED OF THE MALE. WHEN A FEMALE REACHES PUBERTY,
HER CLITORIS IS CUT. SHE THEN GETS MARRIED SHORTLY AFTER.
NOTHING MORE IS DISCUSSED BECAUSE SHE IS SUPPOSE TO BE
HER HUSBAND'S PROPERTY. THIS CUSTOM IS PRACTICED A LOT
IN MANY VILLAGES IN LIBERIA. HOWEVER, IN THE CITY OR
WITH THE CHILDREN OF EDUCATED PARENTS. CIRCUMCISION
OF THE CLITORIS IS NOT PRACTICED. IT IS NOT PRACTICED
BECAUSE OF COLONIZATION. FOR THE MALES, CIRCUMCISION IS
PRACTICED BY THE REMOVAL OF THE PREPUCE COVERING THE
PENIS.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA ; SINKOR

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Morning mealsBreakfast
BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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RIDDLES

MANY CHILDREN HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ENCOURAGED TO LISTEN AND
TO TELL RIDDLES. HOWEVER, IN A GROUP IN WHICH MANY MALES
WERE PRESENT, THE MALE WOULD ENTHUSIASTICALLY TAKE OVER
THE RIDDLE SESSION. THUS, MOST AFRICAN RIDDLES HAVE
BEEN TOLD BY MALES. RIDDLES OFTEN BEGIN AFTER THE MALES
HAVE RETURNED FROM THEIR DINNER. THEY WOULD THEN HUDDLE
INTO A GROUP IN A NEIGHBOR'S YARD TO TELL RIDDLES.
THE PERSON WHO ASK THE RIDDLE IS ASSUMED SMART. THE PERSON WHO
GUESS THE CORRECT ANSWER TO THE RIDDLE IS THOUGHT OF AS
VERY BRIGHT. THESE PEOPLE ARE HIGHLY RESPECTED AND COMMANDED.
MANY RIDDLES ARE SIMILAR TO PROVERBS. THEY'RE PROVERBS
FROM WHICH QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED BY ANOTHER SUCH AS:
WHEN A PALM TREE IS AWAY FROM THE PALM, IT IS AWAY BECAUSE
OF LACK OF WATER. WHAT ABOUT A PLANT WHICH HAS DIED
BECAUSE OF LACK OF WATER?
ANS. WHEN A BABY DIES, IT IS SAID THAT THE CHILD WAS
POISON BY THE WITCH. WHAT'S ABOUT A WITCH'S BABY?
WHEN IT DIES, WHO KILLS IT? NATURALLY, THE WITCH'S MEDICINES.
THESE WERE SOME OF THE RIDDLES THAT WE WERE EXPOSED TO
AS CHILDREN GROWING UP IN MARYLAND COUNTY, LIBERIA.
WE HAD TO INTELLECTUALLY FIGURE OUT THE CORRECT ANSWER.
WHAT CREATES THE RAINBOW?
ANS. SNAKES ARE COLD BLOODY REPTILES. SNAKES USUALLY
WOULD LIKE TO REMAIN IN A WARM PLACE. SNAKES BECOME
TOO UPSET WHEN THEY ARE IN A COLD PLACE. A SNAKE EXPLODED
ONE DAY WHEN HE WAS REMOVED. WHEN HIS MOUTH WAS OPENED,
OUT CAME SEVERAL COLORS. THE COLORS WERE TO BE KNOWN
AS THE RAINBOW COLORS.
YOU HAVE A BOAT, GOAT, LEOPARD AND FIFTY POUNDS OF
CASSAVA LEAVES. YOU WOULD LIKE TO CROSS THEM ALL.
BUT, YOU CAN'T CROSS THEM ALL TOGETHER. WHAT DO YOU DO?
ANS. IF YOU SHOULD TAKE THE LEOPARD FIRST, THE GOAT WILL
EAT THE LEAVES. GOATS ARE VERY FOND OF CASSAVA LEAVES.
IF YOU SHOULD TAKE THE LEAVES FIRST, THE GOAT AND THE
LEOPARD WILL GET INTO A FIGHT AND THE LEOPARD WILL EAT
THE GOAT. THEREFORE, THE BEST SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
IS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE GOAT IS CARRIED FIRST.
LEOPARD DOESN'T EAT CASSAVA LEAVES.

Submitter comment: MALES TEND TO HAVE A DOMINANT GRIP ON BOTH FEMALES AND CHILDREN
IN OUR TRADITIONAL AFRICAN SOCIETY.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; HARPER CITY ; MARYLAND COUNTY

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 00-00-1971

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