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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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AT THE END OF A JEWISH WEDDING CEREMONY, THE GROOM MUST STEP ON AND
BREAK A SHOT GLASS. THIS IS DONE FOR GOOD LUCK

Submitter comment: THIS WAS LEARNED IN HEMSTEAD, NEW YORK

Where learned: NEW YORK ; HEMSTEAD

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage Stepping on wine glass
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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WHENEVER WE MADE WINE, WE MADE IT ON NEW YEAR'S EVE. ALL THE
CHILDREN HAD TO HANDLE THE GRAPES BEFORE IT WAS MADE INTO
WINE. THIS WAS DONE FOR GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT TOLD ME THAT SHE DID THIS IN WEST GERMANY WHEN SHE WAS A
CHILD. SHE REMEMBERS HANDLING THE GRAPES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
Food Drink -- Alcoholic beverage Fermented
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 02-00-1982

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NOISEMAKING

ON DECEMBER 31, AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, YOU MUST
BANG POTS AND PANS TO BRING GOOD LUCK FOR THE COMING
NEW YEAR.

Submitter comment: A COMMON PRACTICE IN DETROIT NEIGHBORHOODS.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): NOISE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00-00-1975

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ON THE FIRST SIGHT OF SPRING, A CELEBRATION MUST
BE INITIATED BY THE FAMILIES WHO HAVE TWO OR MORE BOYS
IN THE VILLAGE TO INSURE GOOD LUCK FOR THE NEW YEAR.

Submitter comment: IT WAS BELIEVED THIS WOULD INSURE HEALTHY BIRTHS OF
ALL CHILDREN AND WOULD INCREASE THE BIRTHS OF BOYS.

Where learned: COLLECTED BY MAIL ; COOKHAM RISE ; BERKSHIRE

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Measure of time Spring
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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WHEN SPRING CLEANING THE RUGS AND PAINTINGS MUST BE METICULOUSLY
CLEANED FOR GOOD LUCK IN THE SPRING.

Where learned: CANADA ; COLLECTED BY MAIL ; MONTREAL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Spring
BELIEF -- Custom
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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ON NEW YEAR'S EVE IN SPAIN, SWALLOWING ONE GRAPE ON EACH
OF THE TWELVE STROKES OF MIDNIGHT WILL BRING GOOD LUCK,
FAILING TO SWALLOW A GRAPE OR DROPPING ONE WILL BE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: LEARNED ITEM FROM FATHER WHO FREQUENTLY TRAVELS
TO EUROPE.

Where learned: CANADA ; MONTREAL ; RECEIVED IN MAIL

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities
BELIEF -- Bad luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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NEW YEAR'S DAY FOOD TRADITION

ON NEW YEAR'S DAY, THE CORN BREAD HAD WITH THE POOR BOY'S MEAL
CONTAINS A DIME WHICH WILL GIVE GOOD LUCK TO THE PERSON WHO GETS IT.

Submitter comment: ITEM WAS LEARNED IN WEST VIRGINIA ALTHOUGH COLLECTED IN DETROIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; BOTSFORD GRADE SCHOOL ; CLARENCEVILLE DISTRICT

Subject headings: Favorites
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
BELIEF -- Good luck Money
BELIEF -- Good luck Food and drink
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 11-00-1982

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HAIR CUTTING BELIEF

HAVING YOUR HAIR CUT ON GOOD FRIDAY WILL BRING GOOD LUCK
FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD THIS TO MY
MOTHER IN DUQUESNE, PENNSYLVANIA AROUND 1945. MY MOTHER
THINKS THAT MY GRANDMOTHER BELIEVED IT TO BE TRUE BUT
DOESN'T RECALL ANYONE ACTUALLY HAVING THEIR HAIR CUT ON
GOOD FRIDAY IN ORDER TO BRING GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: THE GRANDMOTHER, ELIZABETH DORULLA MARTIN IS OF SLOVAKIAN
DESCENT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
Prediction / Divination
Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 09-00-1982

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RURAL BLACK NEW YEAR'S CUSTOM

DURING THE DEPRESSION, IN LOUISVILLE, MISSISSIPPI IT WAS
CUSTOMARY AMONG BLACKS TO PREPARE HOG JOWLS AND BLACK-EYED
PEAS AS THE FIRST MEAL OF THE NEW YEAR. IT WAS THOUGHT
THAT THIS WOULD BRING GOOD LUCK FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR.
I DON'T THINK THAT ANYONE ACTUALLY BELIEVED THAT GOOD LUCK
COULD RESULT FROM EATING A PARTICULAR MEAL. IT WAS JUST
A CUSTOMARY THING TO DO. SOMETIMES, AFTER WE CAME NORTH,
WE WOULD STILL FIX THE MEAL FOR NEW YEAR'S. AFTER I GOT
MARRIED, IN 1950, I DON'T RECALL PREPARING ANY PARTICULAR
MEAL ON NEW YEAR'S.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LIVED IN LOUISVILLE, MISSISSIPPI UNTIL BEING
SENT OVERSEAS IN WORLD WAR II. BY HIS RETURN, IN 1946,
THE FAMILY HAD MOVED TO DETROIT. THE INFORMANT HAS LIVED
IN DETROIT SINCE THAT TIME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Custom
Food Drink -- Food
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
Food Drink -- Plant food Vegetable
Food Drink -- Meat Bred animal
Food Drink -- Special Form and PurposeObject of Bodily Consumption
BELIEF -- Custom
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 09-00-1982

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DAYS OF THE WEEK

VARIOUS BELIEFS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE DAYS OF THE WEEK.
MONDAY IS CONSIDERED A WORK DAY. THEREFORE, IF NEW YEAR'S
DAY FALLS ON A MONDAY, THE ENTIRE YEAR WILL BE HARD.
TUESDAY IS CONSIDERED A HAPPY DAY. WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY
ARE FAST DAYS COMMEMORATING GOOD FRIDAY AND THE WEDNESDAYS
OF LENT. THURSDAY IS ASSOCIATED WITH GOOD LUCK AND IS THE
DAY ASSOCIATED WITH MATCHMAKING. IF YOU ARE BORN ON THIS
DAY YOU WILL BE RICH. SATURDAY IS A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF
THE DEAD.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

Keyword(s): SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00001950S

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IF THE FIRST VISITOR ON NEW YEARS DAY IS A MAN YOU WILL HAVE
GOOD LUCK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00001950S

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GOOD LUCK GRAPES

I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW OUR FAMILY CAME ACROSS THIS TRADITION BUT
EVER SINCE I WAS A YOUNG BOY GROWING UP IN GREECE WE HAVE
FOLLOWED THE SPANISH TRADITION OF EATING NUTS AND TWELVE GRAPES
ON NEW YEAR'S EVE AT MIDNIGHT. EACH GRAPE WILL GIVE YOU GOOD
LUCK FOR THE NEXT TWELVE MONTHS OF THE NEW YEAR. I FOLLOWED
THIS COMBINATION VERY STRICTLY AND IT HASN'T FAILED ME YET.

Submitter comment: AS A VISITOR IN THE GOFFAS HOME, I DIDN'T WANT TO PRESS FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION FROM THE PROUD GREEK WHO WAS UNWILLING TO
TALK.

Where learned: GREECE

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
Favorites
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
BELIEF -- Measure of time Month
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

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SLAVIC NEW YEAR'S TRADITION

ON NEW YEARS MORNING WE WENT DOOR TO DOOR TO THE NEIGHBORS
WITH AN APPLE. ALL THE NEIGHBORS WOULD SHOVE A COIN IN IT
FOR GOOD LUCK IN THE NEW YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BEGGING ; GIFT-GIVING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00-00-1941

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"ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE MARDI GRAS MY MOTHER MAKES FOSHNUTS
(WHICH IS A TYPE OF FRIED DOUGHNUT) FOR GOOD LUCK."

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT HER MOTHER WILL ONLY MAKE THEM ON THAT DAY.
SHE SAID THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY CRAVE AND WANT THEM, HER
MOTHER WILL NOT MAKE THEM.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

Keyword(s): GOOD LUCK

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00001965CA

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WHEN I FIRST CAME TO MICHIGAN, MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR, MRS.
SHELLIE, WOULD ALWAYS CALL US THE FIRST THING ON NEW
YEAR'S DAY. SHE BELIEVED THAT A MAN SHOULD ENTER HER HOME
FIRST FOR GOOD LUCK. THEREFORE, SHE WOULD ALWAYS CALL AND
ASK YOUR FATHER TO VISIT THEM AT EIGHT O' CLOCK ON NEW
YEAR'S MORNING. THIS WAS HER BELIEF SO YOUR DADDY WOULD
GO OVER AND VISIT HER. HE WAS THE FIRST MAN, THE FIRST
MALE TO ENTER HER HOME ON NEW YEAR'S DAY. AFTER HE
ENTERED THE HOUSE, ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTED TO VISIT HER
COULD. IT'S JUST SOMETHING THAT WAS PASSED ON TO HER
FROM HER MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER; TO THEM IT MEANT GOOD
LUCK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: CALLING AND VISITING FRIENDS AND RELATIVES ARE COMMON ON
NEW YEAR'S DAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00001900s ; 09-28-1984

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THE GOREY FAMILY HAVE A NEW YEAR'S EVE TRADITION.
AT MIDNIGHT THEY TAKE ALL THEIR POTS AND PANS
AND BANG THEM TOGETHER. ALL THIS IS TAKING PLACE
WHILE THE FAMILY EXITS THROUGH THE BACK DOOR
AND ENTERS THROUGH THE FRONT.

Submitter comment: THIS IS DONE TO LET THE BAD LUCK GO OUT THE BACK
DOOR, WHILE LETTING THE GOOD LUCK INTO THE FRONT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event
BELIEF -- Bad luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

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ON NEW YEAR'S DAY IT IS A TRADITION TO EAT
"HOP 'N' JOHN'S." IT IS SAID THAT IF YOU EAT THIS MEAL
YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR.

Submitter comment: "HOP 'N' JOHNS" IS A SOUTHERN MEAL MADE UP OF
BLACK EYE PEAS WITH RICE AND HAM CHUNKS.
TO GET THE BEST OF LUCK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
THE BLACK EYE PEAS SHOULD START SOAKING ON
NEW YEAR'S EVE UNTIL MORNING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 00001970CA

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SUPERSTITION FOR GOOD LUCK

IN ORDER TO ENSURE GOOD LUCK FOR THE COMING YEAR YOU SHOULD EAT
CABBAGE FOR DINNER ON NEW YEAR'S DAY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): Cabbage ; Consume ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; LUCK ; Meal ; New Years ; SUPERSTITION

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
BELIEF -- Good luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

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