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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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Many Vietnamese people believe that the spirit of dead
ancestors sit on the heads and shoulders of the living. It is
therefore considered inappropriate to touch the shoulder or pat
the head of a Vietnamese person. This is an insult to the
ancestors.

Where learned: Vietnam ; Asia

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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During the Vietnam War, it was felt to be unlucky for an
American soldier to carry a camera. The soldiers felt that there
was a high incidence of being killed shortly after buying a
camera, or receiving one from home.

Where learned: Vietnam ; Asia

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- P535
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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During the Vietnam War, when a soldier was to go back to the
United States shortly, his time in Vietnam was considered "short."
There was a "short superstition" among the American soldiers
during the war. It was generally believed that as a soldier's time
became "short" he was more likely to be killed than at any other
time of his tour of duty.

Submitter comment: The informant could name numerous time when a soldier had
survived most of his tour of duty only to be killed when he was
"short".

Where learned: Vietnam ; Asia

Subject headings: BELIEF -- P535
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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