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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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WHEN SOMEBODY DIED, NO ONE WOULD GO TO THE FUNERAL.
THEY WENT THE ROUNDS INSTEAD. (THEY DID THIS TO NOTIFY
PEOPLE OF THE DEATH, BECAUSE THERE WERE NO NEWSPAPERS
TO LET PEOPLE KNOW.) THE ROSARY WAS SAID IN THE
DEAD MAN'S HOUSE. NO ONE WOULD GO TO THE BURIAL
WITHOUT A BLACK SUIT OR BLACK DRESS. THE PEOPLE WERE
VERY FRIENDLY AND IF A FAMILY DID NOT HAVE A BLACK
SUIT FOR THE OCCASION THEY WOULD BORROW IT ; THIS
WAS VERY COMMON. ALSO BLACK WAS WORN FOR WEDDINGS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT TOLD ME THAT PEOPLE THEN HAD ONLY ONE GOOD
SUIT AND IT WAS BLACK AND HE ALSO SHOWED ME SOME WEDDING
PICTURES OF HIS RELATIVES WHO WORE BLACK ON THEIR
WEDDING DAY.
THIS TOOK PLACE IN BELGIUM ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; BELGIUM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Color

Date learned: 00-00-1951

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AFTER A WEDDING IN FLANDERS, THE BRIDE AND GROOM WOULD
WALK BACK TO THEIR HOUSE. ON THE WAY, VILLAGE
CHILDREN WOULD HALT THEIR PROGRESS BY HOLDING A
RIBBON ACROSS THEIR PATH AND GIVE THEM FLOWERS. THE
PARTY COULD NOT PROCEED UNTIL THE GROOM GAVE THEM
SOME MONEY.

Submitter comment: MISS VANNESTE LEARNED THIS FROM HER FLEMISH MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; BELGIUM ; FLANDERS

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Ceremony

Date learned: 10-02-1967

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WHEN TWO PEOPLE DECIDE TO GET MARRIED IN BELGIUM, ALL
THE RELATIVES WERE ASKED AND THIS THING IS GOING TO
SURPRISE YOU, BECAUSE IN BELGIUM RELIGIION AND THE
AUTHORITIES ARE ONE. THE PRIESTS GET PAID BY THE
GOVERNMENT, AND THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF SCHOOL.
THE PRIEST HAS NO RIGHT TO MARRY PEOPLE. THE MAN
AND WOMAN GO TO THE CITY HALL AND DECLARE THEIR
INTENTION OF GETTING MARRIED AND FOR THREE WEEKS
THEIR NAMES APPEAR ON THE NOTICE BOARD ON THE OUTSIDE
OF THE CITY HALL. IF ANYONE HAS AN OBJECTION, THEY GO
TO THE CITY HALL TO MAKE IT; IF THERE ARE NO OBJECTIONS
THE MARRIAGE CAN GO AHEAD. ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING
THE COUPLE WOULD WALK TO THE CITY HALL AND PERFORM
THE CIVIL CEREMONY, BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE SUCH A
RELIGIOUS PEOPLE, THEY WOULD NEVER ACCEPT A MARRIAGE
LIKE THAT, THEN THEY WENT TO CHURCH AND THE PRIEST
WOULD REPEAT THE CEREMONY. AFTER THE MASS, ALL THE
ONES THAT WERE INVITED FOR DURING THE DAY, THEY ALL
GOT BEHIND THEM AND START SINGING "YOU'LL BE SORRY"
AND THIS AND THAT. THEN THEY STARTED TO GO TO THE
SALOONS CAUSE THERE WAS ALWAYS DRINKING WITH IT--
HE HAD NEVER MET WITH ANYTHING ELSE THAT WAS
DIFFERENT.
THEN AT NIGHT THERE WAS THE BIG RECEPTION; BUT THERE
WAS NO HALLS.

Submitter comment: I HAVE TOLD THIS WORD FOR WORD AS MR. VALKEN TOLD ME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; BELGIUM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Ceremony

Date learned: 10-20-1971

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IN BELGIUM ON ST. NICHOLAS DAY, DECEMBER 6, THE CHILDREN
ALL PLACE THEIR SHOES ON THE WINDOW SILL IN THE HOPES
THAT ST. NICHOLAS WILL LEAVE THEM A TREAT AS HE PASSES
BY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; BELGIUM ; PITTSBURGH

Keyword(s): Belgium ; Celebration ; CUSTOM ; holiday ; Nicholas ; Saint ; St. Nick ; tradition

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas

Date learned: 11-01-1970

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IN BELGIUM CHRISTMAS GIFTS ARE EXCHANGED ON DECEMBER 6.
THE CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS IS STILL ON DECEMBER 25,
BUT NO GIFTS ARE EXCHANGED.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT SAID THIS CUSTOM STILL PREVAILS TODAY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BELGIUM ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): Belgium ; Celebration ; CHRISTMAS ; Gifts, Exchange ; holiday ; Nick ; Saint ; ST. NICHOLAS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas

Date learned: 02-20-1972

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ST. NICHOLAS' HELPER

ON DECEMBER 6, ST. NICHOLAS DAY, IN BELGIUM, ST.
NICHOLAS VISITS EACH SCHOOL DRESSED AS A BISHOP.
HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A HELPER WHO WAS DRESSED IN BLACK
CARRYING AN EMPTY SACK AND A BIG STICK. THE CHILDREN
WERE TERRIFIED OF THE HELPER, FOR IF THEY WERE NOT
GOOD, THE HELPER WOULD PUT THEM INTO THE SACK AND ALL
THEY WILL GET IS COAL AS A PRESENT ON ST. NICHOLAS DAY.
SO GREAT WAS THIS FEAR, THAT A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE DURING
THE PAST YEAR IN LIEGE STATED THAT TWO BOYS RAN AWAY FROM
SCHOOL SO THAT THE HELPER WOULDN'T GET THEM.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; BELGIUM ; PITTSBURGH

Keyword(s): Celebrate ; CUSTOM ; Helper ; holiday ; Nicholas ; Saint ; St. Nick

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas

Date learned: 11-01-1970

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FLEMISH NEW YEAR SONG

NIEUW JAARKE ZOETEN (SWEET NEW YEAR)
MYN VERKEN HEEFT VIERVOETEN (MY PIG HAS FOUR FEET)
VIER BOETEN EN EENEN SCHOEN (FOUR FEET AND A SHOE)
IK BEN MYN VADER ZYN KAPOEN! (I AM MY FATHER'S SON).
THIS IS A SONG SUNG BY FLEMISH CHILDREN ON NEW YEAR'S
WHEN THEY GO FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE TO GET A TREAT. THEY
RECEIVE A COOKIE OR SOMETHING.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USED TO DO THIS IN HIS CHILDHOOD DAYS.

Where learned: BELGIUM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals

Date learned: 03-08-1971

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WHEN A PERSON POINTS HIS THUMB UP IT MEANS THAT ALL
IS GOING WELL. WHEN HE POINTS BOTH THUMBS UP IT
MEANS ALL IS GOING SUPER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USED THESE SIGNS.

Where learned: BELGIUM

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
SPEECH -- All right O.K.

Date learned: 06-00-1970

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PATTING YOUR ELBOW WITH YOUR HAND IS A SIGN THAT
ALL IS GOING WELL.

Submitter comment: I SAW INFORMANT USE THIS SIGN MANY TIMES. HE SAYS
THAT IT IS AN INTERNATIONAL SIGN.

Where learned: BELGIUM

Subject headings: SPEECH -- All right O.K.

Date learned: 06-00-1970

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IN BELGIUM, BOY SCOUTS WOULD WALK TO RECEIVE HOLY
COMMUNION IN CHURCH WITH THEIR ARMS CROSSED. THIS
WAS A DEFINITE WAY TO INDICATE THAT YOU WERE ONE OF
THIS GROUP. THIS TRADITION IS STILL IN EFFECT.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; BELGIUM ; PITTSBURGH

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 11-01-1970

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EATING HABITS

IN BELGIUM, IT IS TAUGHT IN THE HOME TO EAT WITH THE
FOR IN THE LEFT HAND. THIS PERMITS EASY ACCESS TO
CUTTING THE FOOD WITH A KNIFE IN THE RIGHT HAND.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; BELGIUM ; PITTSBURGH

Keyword(s): MANNERS

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Eating For menu, see N222.
Food Drink -- Service Table furnishing and decoration Implement to handle food
SPEECH -- Eating

Date learned: 11-01-1970

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Ethnic Joke: Hollander

Hollander Joke:

When the Hollanders bury their dead, they bury them standing up with the top half sticking out of the grave. These are used as the tombstones.

Submitter comment:

This joke was told to me by a boy from Flanders.

Hollander jokes are typical in Belgium.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs and BN added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Written in the bottom left of the card: Does this imply that the Hollanders are cheap? A response in different handwriting (probably the collector's): YES!!

Where learned: BELGIUM

Keyword(s): BURIAL ; DEATH ; ETHNIC ; Funeral ; GRAVEYARD ; Headstones ; Holland ; Hollander ; Offensive ; Tasteless

James Callow Keyword(s): Hollander

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery

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Ethnic: Belgium

Funeral Custom:

When a dead person is laid out, a photographer takes a picture of the corpse. The family keeps this picture.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: BELGIUM

Keyword(s): CUSTOM ; DEATH ; FAMILY ; Funeral ; Photograph ; Picture ; Soul

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

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showing 13 items

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