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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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ROMAN OBSERVATION:

THE ROMANS DISLIKE THE ORNATE AND OSTENTATIOUS "ALTAR OF THE
NATION" WHICH CONTAINS A MONUMENT TO VICTOR EMMANUAL II.
THEY SAY: "THE BEST VIEW OF THE CITY IS FROM THE TOP OF THIS
BUILDING, BECAUSE ONLY FROM THE TOP DO YOU NOT HAVE TO LOOK AT
THIS MONSTROSITY."

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME ; IN A LETTER

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Monument

Date learned: 09-00-1967

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ASH WEDNESDAY

IN ITALY, ON THE THURSDAY BEFORE ASH WEDNESDAY THE CHILDREN DRESS
UP IN THEIR VERY BEST CLOTHES AND PARADE THROUGH THE CITY THROWING
CONFETTI.

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME

Subject headings: 663 Ash Wednesday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Pre Lent

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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ON DECEMBER 8TH, IN THE CITY OF LYON CALLED THE "CITY OF MARY"
IN FRANCE THEY HAVE BIG CELEBRATIONS. THE CITY IS ALL DECORATED AND
THE VERY OLD PARTS ARE ALL LIGHTED IN DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED MOTHER.
EACH SHOP IN THE CITY IS DECORATED AND CANDLES ARE LIT IN EVERY
HOUSE. A PRIZE IS GIVEN TO THE SHOP WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL
DECORATIONS.

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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SOUND AND LIGHT DAYS

CERTAIN DAYS ARE SET ASIDE IN FRANCE WHICH ARE KNOWN AS "SOUND AND
LIGHT DAYS." IN THE OLD PARTS OF FRANCE WHERE THERE ARE OLD
MONUMENTS THE WHOLE AREA IS ALL LIT UP WITH MANY LIGHTS AND MUSIC
IS PLAYED AND STORIES ARE TOLD AT NIGHT OF THE BEGINNINGS OF THE
CITY. PEOPLE WALK THROUGH THE STREETS VIEWING AND LISTENING ABOUT
TIMES PAST.

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Festival

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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THE WHALE'S TOOTH

THE GREATEST TOKEN OF THE FIJIANS ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER PEOPLE OR A
SIGN OF HONOR IS FOR THEM TO GIVE A WHALE'S TOOTH.
THIS INFORMANT WAS A MISSIONARY FOR SIX YEARS IN FIJI AND HAD
ACTUALLY RECEIVED TWO TEETH OF A WHALE.

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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CUSTOM: ROMAN NEW YEAR

IT IS A CUSTOM AMONG ROMANS TO SAVE ALL CHINAWARE--DISHES,
GLASSES, JARS, ETC--THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE YEAR. ON NEW
YEARS--12:00--EVERYONE THROWS THEIR ENTIRE COLLECTION OUT THE
WINDOW WITHOUT CONCERN FOR ANYONE PASSING BY. THIS IS A
DISASTEROUS EVENT FOR BOTH PEDESTRIANS AND STREET CLEANERS.

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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A LIGHT IN ST. MARK'S SQUARE

IF A GIRL LIGHT(S) A CIGARETTE IN ST. MARK'S SQUARE IN
VENICE , ITALY, IT MEANS SHE IS LOOKING FOR A MAN
TO SPEND THE NIGHT WITH.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS AS A TOURIST VISITING ITALY.

Where learned: ITALY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 05-19-1965

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KAVA CEREMONY

IN FIJI THE KAVA CEREMONY IS PERFORMED WHEN HONOR IS TO
BE SHOWN TO SOMEONE OR FOR SOME SPECIAL REASON, LIKE A
WEDDING. IT CONSISTS IN USING THE ROOTS OF THE KAVA
TREE, DRIED AND CRUSHED WITH WATER. THE MEN ONLY
PERFORM THIS CEREMONY AND THEY SIT IN A LARGE CIRCLE
CHANTING IN FIJIAN WHILE ONE OF THEM MINES THE WATER
AND ROOTS. WHEN THE DRINK IS READY, THE PRINCIPLE
OF THE GROUP TAKES HALF A COCONUT SHELL FULL OF KAVA
AND BRINGS IT TO THE GUEST OF HONOR. THE GUEST IS
SUPPOSED TO DRINK IT ALL AND THEN SPIN THE COCONUT
SHELL BACK TO THE MIXER.

Where learned: ITALY ; ROME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern

Date learned: 11-00-1970

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RAY WAS EATING AT AN OUTDOOR SIDEWALK CAFE. A BIRD FLEW
ONTO RAY'S HEAD. HE REACHED UP AND FELT A FURRY LITTLE THING.
HE REACHED UP HIS HAND AND SWIPED THE BIRD OFF, AND
IT LANDED ON THE TABLE OF AN AUSTRALIAN COUPLE.

Where learned: ITALY ; FLORENCE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote

Date learned: 07-00-1985

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IN LATIN COUNTRIES IT IS CUSTOMARY FOR A MAN TO SERENADE
THE WOMAN HE LOVES. IN ANGONE, A TOWN IN THE REGION OF
MOLISE, ITALY, A MAN WILL GATHER SOME OF HIS FRIENDS AND/OR
HIRE SOME MUSICIANS AND SERENADE HIS FIANCE THE NIGHT
BEFORE THE WEDDING. THIS TAKES PLACE AT APPROXIMATELY
9:00 P.M. WHEN THE MEN COME TO SERENADE, THEY BRING A
LADDER,WHEN THEY ARE FINISHED SINGING, THE PARENTS OF
THE BRIDE INVITE THE GROOM AND HIS PARTY TO COME IN FOR REFRESHMENTS. THEY MUST THEN CLIMB THE LADDER IN TO THE
GIRLS BEDROOM. THIS IS A CUSTOM OF WELCOMING THE GROOM TO
THE FAMILY. IN METROPOLITAN AREAS WHERE THE BRIDE MAY LIVE
IN A HIGH RISE APARTMENT, SOME GROOMS HAVE BORROWED FIRE
TRUCKS WITH LADDERS TO CLIMB INTO THE GIRL'S ROOM.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED OF THIS CUSTOM WHEN VISITING ITALY.

Where learned: ITALY ; AGNONE ; MOLISE

Keyword(s): SERENADING ; SINGING ; WEDDING CUSTOMS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Serenade Charivari
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 00001980S

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A CUSTOM PERFORMED AT WEDDINGS IN NAPLES, ITALY, IS
PERFORMED AT THE RECEPTION. THE BEST MAN TAKES THE
GROOM'S TIE AND CUTS IT INTO MANY TINY PIECES. HE THEN SELLS
THE PIECES TO THE GUESTS AT THE WEDDING. HE THEN GIVES ALL
THE MONEY TO THE GROOM.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT SAYS THAT THIS CUSTOM HELPS THE NEWLYWEDS SET
UP HOUSEKEEPING. SHE ALSO SAID THAT MONEY IS USUALLY GIVEN
RATHER THAN A MATERIAL GIFT. IF THE BRIDE OR GROOM'S FAMILY
ARE WELL TO DO, THEY MAY EVEN GIFT THE COUPLE WITH A FLAT
OR AN APARTMENT.

Where learned: ITALY ; NAPLES

Keyword(s): MONEY ; WEDDING CUSTOM

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 00001980S

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Custom

In a Sicilian family, it is customary to name the first
son after the paternal grandfather. The second son is
named after the maternal grandfather.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00001977CA

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Ethnic Joke

Can pick any three ethnic groups to use, but one has
to be the "brunt of the joke."
Three guys are in a bar. One is Polish, another is
Italian, and the last one is German. There are three
girls sitting at the other end of the bar. The guys
decide they want to impress the girls with their
knowledge of drinks. The Italian says, "Give me an
RC." The girls say, "Oh what's that?" The bartender
says, "Rum and Coke". The German says, "Give me a
W&W." The girls say, "Oh what's that?" The bartender
says, "Whiskey and Water." The Polish guy says, "Give
me a 15." The girls say, "Oh what's that?" The bartender
says, "What's that?" The Polish guy says, "7&7."

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

James Callow Keyword(s): Mathematics--addition

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote
BELIEF -- Poli

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Italian Christmas Tradition

Eldest cousin buys the youngest cousin a gift.
Paternal grandfather buys the newest member a
welcome gift to the family.

Submitter comment: The newest member is a new addition to the family.
This includes a new baby or someone who married into
the family.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve

Date learned: 00001972CA

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Italian Funerals

Only wear black colors to a funeral. The widow
must wear a veil.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00001984CA

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Wedding Custom

All females must wear white; that includes the bride.
Bride has to wear veil to cover her whole face.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 00001984CA

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Revolving Christmas Eve Dinner

Every year dinner changes to another female member's
house. This has to be an eight-course meal.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals

Date learned: 00001972CA

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Good Luck (Italian)

Throw salt over left shoulder for good luck. The
paternal grandfather does this on the day of a wedding
or birth.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 00001972CA

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Christening Outfit

Paternal grandfather gives first born grandchild
a christening outfit. All grandchildren wear this
outfit, but the eldest gets to keep it to give to
their children.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

Date learned: 00001972CA

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