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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

IF THE FIRST PERSON TO COME THROUGH THE DOOR OF YOUR HOUSE ON
CHRISTMAS EVE IS A DARK HAIRED MAN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN THE
YEAR TO COME.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CHRISTMAS ; COLOR ; GOOD LUCK ; HAIR ; holiday ; LUCK ; Man ; OMEN ; SYMBOL

James Callow Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 00001930S

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LEAVING

ON LEAVING THE HOUSE YOU ARE TO LEAVE BY THE SAME DOOR YOU
ENTERED THE HOUSE BY OR ELSE BAD LUCK WILL COME TO YOU.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT DOES THIS EACH TIME HE ENTERS A BUILDING. HE
ALWAYS LEAVES BY THE SAME DOOR ENTERED.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; BUILDING ; Entrance ; Exit ; LUCK ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; POSITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 02-28-1971

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BIRTH BELIEF

AFTER THE BABY IS BORN THE MOTHER IS TO HOLD THE BABY IN HER
ARM AND WALK OVER WHEAT THAT HAS BEEN STREWN OVER THE FLOOR OR
GROUND, TO INSURE THE GOOD LIFE TO COME.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S MOTHER DID THIS WITH EACH OF HER CHILDREN SOON AFTER
BIRTH, ALSO DONE IN EGYPT.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Keyword(s): BABY ; BIRTH ; CHILD ; CUSTOM ; Good ; LUCK ; MOTHER ; Practice ; RITUAL ; Wheat

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMEOPATHIC

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 03-23-1971

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EASTER CROSS

AN ITALIAN EASTER CUSTOM IS TO MAKE A CROSS OUT OF THE PALM LEAVES
RECEIVED IN CHURCH ON PALM SUNDAY. THIS CROSS IS MOUNTED ON THE WALL
AND IS TO REMAIN THERE THROUGHOUT THE EASTER SEASON. THIS BRINGS
GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER HAVE ALWAYS DONE THIS.

Where learned: NEW YORK, ASSUMED ; FRANKLINVILLE

Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: 663 Palm Sunday
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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PROVERB

UF KAERFREIDAK SULL MER'S ERSCHT MOL IM JOR FISCHE GE, NO BEISE DI
FISCH'S GANZ JOR.
YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN FISHING ALL YEAR IF YOU FISH THE FIRST
TIME IN THE YEAR ON GOOD FRIDAY.

Data entry tech comment: FROM FISHERS OF MEN?

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA

Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
Favorites
BELIEF -- Fish
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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GOOD FRIDAY SUPERSTITION

MY MOTHER WOULD NEVER LET ANY OF US THREE CHILDREN PLAY THE PIANO ON
GOOD FRIDAY. IF WE DID, IT WOULD BRING BAD LUCK. MY MOTHER WAS
TAUGHT THIS BY HER IRISH MOTHER, A VERY RELIGIOUS PERSON.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; PEORIA

Keyword(s): LUCK ; MUSIC

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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EASTER

IF THE FIRST PERSON WHO WALKS IN THE DOOR ON EASTER IS A MAN, IT'S
BAD LUCK; IF IT'S A WOMAN, IT'S GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: TELEPHONE ; TOLD BY

Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING ; LUCK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 03-07-1970

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POLISH EASTER

ON EASTER MORNING, THE FAMILY WOULD ALWAYS HOPE FOR ITS FIRST VISITOR
TO BE A VERY YOUNG PERSON OR A CHILD AS THAT WOULD DENOTE THAT GOOD
FORTUNE WOULD FOLLOW ALL YEAR.

Submitter comment: LEARNED IN POLAND

Where learned: STORE

Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING ; LUCK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 09-27-1967

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"BREAKING THE OPIATKEJ"

DURING THE HOLIDAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EASTER, AN EMBOSSED PIECE OF
UNLEAVENED BREAD IS PASSED AROUND THE DINNER TABLE. EACH MEMBER,
STARTING WITH THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY, BREAKS OFF A PARTICLE AND
PARTAKES OF IT. THE OPIATKEJ IS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD LUCK AND
WELL-BEING TO THE FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FAMILY UNITY ; FOOD CUSTOM ; HEALTH ; LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday

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SEASONAL TRADITION

AMONG PEOPLE OF POLISH-AMERICAN EXTRACTION, EASTER MONDAY IS KNOWN
AS "SPRINKLE DAY." ON THIS DAY THEY SPRINKLE EVERYONE THEY MEET
WITH PERFUME. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment:

MY MOTHER FIRST LEARNED OF THIS CUSTOM WHEN SHE WAS TEACHING IN THE
DELRAY SECTION OF DETROIT ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's mother.
 

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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CRAFT DESIGN

WHEN UKRAINIANS DECORATE THEIR EASTER EGGS, THEY USE
THE GEOMETRIC SHAPE OF THE CIRCLE TO SYMBOLIZE THE SUN AND GOOD
FORTUNE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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GOOD LUCK

IF YOU LIFT UP YOUR FEET FROM THE FLOOR AND TOUCH YOUR HANDS TO
THE CEILING WHILE GOING OVER A RAILROAD TRACK IN YOUR CAR, YOU
WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): RAILROAD TRACK, LUCK

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 03-00-1970

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LUCK

ORIENTALS WRAP THEIR GIFTS IN RED TO SYMBOLIZE EVERLASTING GOOD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): COLOR WISHES (GOOD LUCK). ; ORIENTAL RED GIFT

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

Date learned: 11-25-1969

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CUSTOM

PLACES OF BUSINESS USUALLY SAVE THE FIRST DOLLAR THEY HAVE MADE AS A
BUSINESS. THIS IS FOR GOOD LUCK. THIS PRACTICE IS DONE IN
MANY STORES

Where learned: NOT INCLUDED

Keyword(s): BUSINESS MONEY GOOD LUCK

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

Date learned: NOT INCLUDED

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MARKET DAY IN KERRY

AT THE MARKET IN KERRY, WHEN TWO FARMERS EXCHANGE BUSINESS
THEY BARGAIN A LOT. THE FARMER WHO IS BUYING THE CATTLE TENDS
TO FIND ALL KINDS OF FAULTS WITH THE CATTLE. THE GAME IS TO FIND
WEAKNESSES IN THE OTHER MAN'S CRAFT IN RAISING CATTLE.
THE MORE "BITING" THE FARMER IS THE BETTER CATTLE_MAN HE IS.
WHEN ALL THE INSULTS ARE OVER AND THE OWNER OF THE CATTLE KNOWS
THAT "HIS MAN" IS INTERESTED,
HE GETS REALLY TOUGH AS REGARDS PRICES.
HE NEVER LOOKS AT THE BUYER IN THE FACE, BUT AWAY FROM HIM AND
SOME OTHER INTERESTING THINGS THAT HE IMAGINES HE SEES.
THE LESS HE LOOKS AT THE BUYER, THE MORE ANXIOUS HE IS TO SELL, AND
THE BUYER KNOWS THIS. BARGAINING CAN GO ON FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS.
WHEN THE DEAL IS CLOSED AND THE MONEY IS PAID, THE SELLER ALWAYS
GIVES BACK A LITTLE PER CENT OF THE PRICE FOR GOOD LUCK AND
FRIENDSHIP. THEN BOTH MEN GO INTO A PUB FOR A COUPLE OF DRINKS AND
A MAN_TO_MAN CHAT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): GOOD LUCK, FRIENDSHIP BUSINESS ; IRELAND

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business

Date learned: 11-00-1970

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CASE OF EVIL EYE CAUSING DEATH

AFTER COMING TO THIS COUNTRY, THE INFORMANT'S MOTHER
LOST A BABY GIRL NAMED CATHERINE BECAUSE SOME FRIEND OF THEIRS
(A MAN) PRAISED THE LITTLE BABY AND IT CAME UNDER A SPELL.
THEY COULDN'T FIND ANYONE IN THE U.S. WHO COULD BREAK THE SPELL
(THERE WERE PEOPLE GOOD AT THIS IN THE OLD COUNTRY).
THE BABY JUST WANED AWAY AND DIED. AND IN LATER YEARS
WHEN ANOTHER RELATIVE WAS GIVEN THE NAME OF CATHERINE SHE GOT
BAD LUCK TO GO WITH IT FROM THE OLD SPELL
AND THAT IS WHY SHE NEVER HAS ANY DATES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ATTACHED TO NAME

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-26-1969

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BIRTH BELIEF

AFTER THE BABY IS BORN THE MOTHER IS TO HOLD THE BABY IN HER
ARM AND WALK OVER WHEAT THAT HAS BEEN STREWN ON THE FLOOR OR
GROUND TO INSURE THE CHILD OF A GOOD LIFE TO COME.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S MOTHER DID THIS WITH EACH OF HER CHILDREN SOON AFTER
THEIR BIRTH. DONE IN EGYPT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BABY ; BIRTH ; CHILD ; CUSTOM ; Good ; LUCK ; MOTHER ; Practice ; RITUAL ; Wheat

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMEOPATHIC

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 03-23-1971

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ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

IT IS BAD LUCK TO GO SWIMMING BEFORE THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN
THE BAPTIST (JUNE 24).

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; Legend ; LUCK ; Saint ; Saint John the Baptist ; SWIMMING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June 24 St. John's Day / Midsummer Day
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-00-1972

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DOOR

IF SOMEONE ENTERS YOUR FRONT DOOR, IT IS BAD LUCK FOR THEM
TO LEAVE OUT OF THE BACK DOOR.

Submitter comment:

LEARNED IN CHILDHOOD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Back ; BELIEF ; Front ; Guest ; HOSPITALITY ; LUCK ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; POSITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 04-00-1972

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