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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CUSTOM

PLACES OF BUSINESS USUALLY SAVE THE FIRST DOLLAR THEY HAVE MADE AS
A BUSINESS. THIS IS FOR GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: I HAVE SEEN THIS PRACTICE DONE IN MANY STORES, AND BY OWNERS WHOM
I PERSONALLY KNOW.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
BELIEF -- Sign Color

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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BELIEF

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT IT IS UNLUCKY TO GO SWIMMING BEFORE THE
FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, WHICH IS JUNE 24.
INFORMANT STILL BELIEVES IN THIS STATEMENT. IN CHILDHOOD, I
ALWAYS HAD TO OBEY THIS BELIEF, AND COULDN'T GO SWIMMING BEFORE
JUNE 24.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June 24 St. John's Day / Midsummer Day
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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OBSERVATION

IF A FORK IS DROPPED, THIS MEANS THAT COMPANY IS COMING FOR
DINNER.

Submitter comment: ON A FEW OCCASIONS THIS STATEMENT ACTUALLY DID COME TRUE, BUT I
STILL DO NOT ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS STATEMENT.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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BELIEF

A BELIEF HELD BY SOME PEOPLE IS THAT IF TWO OR MORE FRIENDS EACH MAKE
A CUT ON THEIR BODIES, PREFERABLY THEIR ARMS OR WRISTS, AND MIX
THEIR BLOOD ON THESE CUTS, THEY WILL BECOME RELATED AS BLOOD
BROTHERS.

Submitter comment: I WAS ASKED TO PERFORM THIS ACT WITH SOME FRIENDS DURING CHILDHOOD.
I THINK THIS ACT IS BASED ON AN INDIAN WARRIOR CUSTOM WHEREBY TWO OR
MORE WARRIORS BECOME BLOOD BROTHERS IN THE INTERESTS OF MUTUAL
DEFENSE, PROTECTION, AND UNITY.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

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

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CHRISTMAS EVE CUSTOM

A TRADITIONAL POLISH CHRISTMAS EVE CUSTOM IS THE SHARING OF A BLESSED
WAFER CALLED OPLATKI. EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY BREAKS OFF AND
EATS A PIECE OF THE WAFER WHICH IS DISTRIBUTED USUALLY BY THE
GRANDMOTHER OR THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY. THE WAFER IS SIMILAR TO THE
COMMUNION WAFER. CHRISTMAS GREETINGS AND BEST WISHES ARE OFFERED
AS THE WAFER IS RECEIVED. THIS PARTICULAR PRACTICE FOLLOWS A FAMILY
MEAL OF ALL POLISH FOODS.

Submitter comment: THIS CUSTOM IS STILL BEING FOLLOWED AT MY HOUSE ON CHRISTMAS EVE.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

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

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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IN GRADE SCHOOL, IT WAS CUSTOMARY TO PUT THE INITIALS
J.M.J., FOR JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH, ON ALL ASSIGNMENTS
AND TESTS. THIS WAS FOR HELP AND GUIDANCE IN DOING
SCHOOLWORK.

Submitter comment: I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS PRACTICE WILL ACTUALLY HELP
A STUDENT.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF THE HUSBAND OF AN OLD ITALIAN WOMAN DIES, THE WOMAN
WILL WEAR BLACK CLOTHING FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT AND MYSELF HAVE SEEN MANY EXAMPLES OF THIS
SUTOM.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00001960S

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AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS SKEPTICAL AS TO THIS BELIEF.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief

Date learned: 00001950S LATE

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GUESSING GAME

A CERTAIN CHILDHOOD GUESSING GAME INVOLVES TRYING TO GUESS
WHAT OBJECT WAS PURCHASED AT A GROCERY OR DEPARTMENT STORE
FROM CLUES GIVEN BY A PERSON. THE PERSON LEADING THE
GAME BEGINS WITH THE WORDS, "I WENT TO THE STORE AND I
BOUGHT..." HE THEN GIVES SUBTLE HINTS AS TO WHAT THE
OBJECT MIGHT BE. IF A PARTICIPANT GUESSES WHAT THE
SUBJECT IS, THEN HE WILL CHOOSE THE NEXT ITEM TO BE
GUESSED AT. IF THE OBJECT IS NOT GUESSED AT CORRECTLY
AFTER A CERTAIN TIME, THE ANSWER IS GIVEN, AND THE
SAME PERSON CONTINUES WITH ANOTHER OBJECT TO BE GUESSED
AT. THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FREQUENTLY BY ME DURING
CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: POUGHKEEPSIE ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: --

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THREE FLIES UP

THREE FLIES UP IS A COMMON CHILDHOOD GAME. THE GAME FOLLOWS
THE USUAL RULES OF BASEBALL, WITH THE "BATTER" GIVEN THREE
OUTS, AND BOUNDARIES OF A FIELD ARE ESTABLISHED. THE GAME
IS USUALLY PLAYED BY TWO PEOPLE, A BATTER AND A FIELDER.
A RUBBER BALL IS THROWN AGAINST THE SIDE OF A TALL BRICK
WALL. THE OBJECT OF THE GAME IS FOR THE BATTER TO BOUNCE
THE BALL OFF THE WALL AND HAVE IT LAND IN THE FIELD
WITHOUT BEING CAUGHT, WHICH IS A HIT. RUNS ARE TALLIED
IN THE USUAL WAY, AND HOME RUNS ARE POSSIBLE, DEPENDING
ON THE FIELD BOUNDARIES. THE WINNER AT THE END OF THE
GAME HAS THE MOST RUNS.

Submitter comment: THIS GAME WAS PLAYED QUITE FREQUENTLY BY MYSELF DURING
CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: POUGHKEEPSIE ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement Special Object or Implement

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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"Your mother, my, mother, live across the way,
1515 East Broadway. Every night, they have a fight,
And this is what they say:
Icka, Bocka, Soda cracker,
Does your mother chew tobacker?"
As a counting out rhyme, yes or no would be
chosen and then spelled out, such as "Y-E-S spells
yes and you are not it."
As a jumprope rhyme, "yes, no, yes, no" would be repeated
until you fell.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

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A POLISH CHRISTMASTIME CUSTOM INVOLVES WRITING THE
INITIALS OF THE THREE KINGS ABOVE ENTRANCE DOORS TO
YOUR HOUSE ON JANUARY 6. THIS IS DONE WITH WHITE
CHALK. THE THREE INITIALS ARE K., M., AND B., FOR
KASPER, MELCHIOR, AND BALTHAZAR. JANUARY 6 IS THE
FEAST OF THE THREE KINGS.

Submitter comment: THIS PRACTICE IS NO LONGER BEING FOLLOWED AT MY HOUSE.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A TRADITIONAL POLISH EASTER-TIME CUSTOM IS THE BLESSING
OF THE EASTER BASKET ON HOLY SATURDAY. THE EASTER
BASKET CONTAINING SAMPLES OF THE FOOD WHICH IS TO BE
EATEN ON EASTER SUNDAY. THE FOOD IS PLACED IN THE
DECORATED BASKET AND BROUGHT TO THE CHURCH, WHERE IT
IS BLESSED. THE BLESSED FOOD IS THEN EATEN ALONG
WITH THE REMAINING FOOD DURING A BIG EASTER SUNDAY
MORNING BREAKFAST. USUALLY A LAMB MADE FROM BUTTER
IS ALSO GOTTEN AT EASTER-TIME AND BLESSED AND EATEN WITH
THE BREAKFAST.

Submitter comment: THIS CUSTOM IS STILL IN PRACTICE AT MY HOUSE.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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BEAVER

A COMMON CHILDHOOD GAME PLAYED DURING CAR TRIPS IS
COUNTING "BEAVERS," OR STATION WAGONS, WITH THE WINNER
BEING THE ONE HAVING COUNTED THE MOST BEAVERS DURING
THE TRIP. THE FIRST PERSON TO SEE A STATION WAGON SAYS
"BEAVER," AND CLAIMS IT AS HIS. IN THIS WAY TOTALS
ARE ADDED.

Submitter comment: THIS GAME WAS FREQUENTLY PLAYED BY MYSELF DURING CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- C531

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SOME PEOPLE CARRY OUT THE PRACTICE OF PLACING A COIN
IN A LOAF OF HOME-MADE BREAD. THE PERSON IN THE
FAMILY WHO GETS THE COIN IN A SLICE OF BREAD WILL
HAVE GOOD LUCK. THE BREAD IS USUALLY MADE BY THE
GRANDMOTHER, IF LIVING.

Submitter comment: EUROPEAN PRACTICE WHICH I DON'T HAVE TOO MUCH
FAITH IN.
MY SUITEMATE HAS SEEN HIS GRANDMOTHER DO IT.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food Cereal
BELIEF -- Good luck Money
BELIEF -- Good luck Food and drink

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT SMOKING WILL STUNT YOUR
GROWTH.

Submitter comment: I THINK THAT THIS BELIEF IS NOT REALLY BASED ON FACT.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.8

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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MOST PEOPLE SAY "GOD BLESS YOU" TO A PERSON WHO HAS JUST
SNEEZED BASED ON A BELIEF THAT THE DEVIL WILL ENTER
YOUR BODY UNLESS THIS PHRASE IS SAID AT THAT TIME.
ALSO, YOUR HEART IS SUPPOSED TO STOP BEATING INSTANT-TANEOUSLY AFTER A SNEEZE, AND THIS PHRASE IS ALSO
SAID TO KEEP YOUR HEART BEATING.

Submitter comment: I DON'T ACTUALLY BELIEVE THE BASIS FOR THE USE OF
THIS PHRASE.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.8

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Belief: Animal

A snake having been killed will not die until sundown

Submitter comment:

Informant was skeptical as to this belief

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; DEATH ; Kill ; Serpent ; Snake ; Sundown ; SUPERSTITION ; Time of day

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal

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Belief: Weather

Weather Proverb:

Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors' warning.

Submitter comment:

Much used saying which was firmly believed by informant.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [V300] crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Dup. of WPP

Where learned: NEW YORK ; POUGHKEEPSIE

Keyword(s): COLOR ; NATURE ; Nautical ; Ocean ; PREDICTING WEATHER ; PREDICTION ; RHYME ; Sailor ; Sky ; WARNING ; WEATHER

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb

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