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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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EPIPHANY CAKE

EACH YEAR ON EPIPHANY OUR FAMILY BAKES A CAKE WITH A RING INSIDE IT.
WHOEVER GETS THE RING IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE GOOD LUCK THROUGHOUT
NEW YEAR. WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS CUSTOM IN MY FAMILY ON AND OFF
SINCE I WAS IN THE THIRD GRADE. I THINK ORIGINALLY IT MAY HAVE BEEN
A GERMAN CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): LUCKY FIND

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.4

Date learned: CA 00001965

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

TAFFY WAS A THIEF
TAFFY CAME TO OUR HOUSE
AND STOLE A LEG OF BEEF.

Submitter comment: IN BAVARIA, GERMANY - KRIS KRINGLE CAME AROUND AND GAVE TO GOOD
CHILDREN POP CORN MADE INTO A BALL IN STOCKING - BAD CHILDREN GOT
SWITCHES AND ASHES.

James Callow comment: COLLECTOR DID NOT SAY WHEN CHRISTMAS WAS CELEBRATED.
BOGGS NUMBERS, ADDED BY ME, SHOW POSSIBILITIES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.

Date learned: 11-30-1972

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NEW YEAR'S CUSTOM

HANSEL MONDAY - FIRST MONDAY OF THE NEW YEAR IN IRELAND.
ADULTS GIVE A GIFT OF MONEY TO CHILDREN AND DO NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING
IN RETURN. GOOD LUCK TO GIVE AND RECEIVE.

Submitter comment:

NORWEGIAN ORIGIN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 686.1
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39815
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39816
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 4
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 5
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 7
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 11-30-1972

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THE CHRISTMAS TREE IS NEVER PUT UP BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE AND
NEVER TAKEN DOWN BEFORE JANUARY 6.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS A POLISH CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas Season See F645.2 for Advent Season.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas tree

Date learned: 10-00-1965

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ON THREE KINGS' DAY, JANUARY 6, OUR FAMILY BURNED INCENSE AND WROTE
WITH BLESSED CHALK ABOVE THE ENTRANCE TO THE HOME THE INITIALS OF THE THREE KINGS. THIS WAS THE DAY THAT WE TOOK OUR CHRISTMAS TREE DOWN.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 10-07-1972

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WHEN WE LIVED ON THE FARM, ABOUT AN HOUR AFTER DINNER, SANTA CLAUS (MY FATHER OR MOTHER) CAME AND PASSED OUT ORANGES, WALNUTS, COOKIES,
ETC. (NO TOYS). I DON'T KNOW IF THIS WAS A POLISH CUSTOM OR NOT.

James Callow comment:

COLLECTOR DOES NOT SPECIFY DAY. BOGGS NUMBERS ARE
ADDED BY ME TO COVER POSSIBILITIES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 10-07-1972

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AT CHRISTMAS TIME A MANGER SCENE IS SET UP. THE INFANT, HOWEVER, IS NOT
PLACED IN THE CRIB UNTIL CHRISTMAS MORNING AND THE THREE WISE MEN ARE NOT PLACED WITH THE SCENE UNTIL
"THREE KING'S DAY" (JANUARY 6).

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: DRAMA -- Religious
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Manger scenes

Date learned: 10-07-1972

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SANTA

ITALIAN CHILDREN DO NOT WAIT FOR SANTA CLAUS. THEY HAVE A
WOMAN NAMED "LA BEFANA" WHICH MEANS THE GOOD ONE. SHE COMES ON
TWELFTH NIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 11-09-1972

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RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

ON JANUARY 6, THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WRITE
THE INITIALS OF THE THREE KINGS ABOVE YOUR DOORWAY. IT IS A WAY TO
CELEBRATE' A BLESSING AND A CATHOLIC CUSTOM. WE DIDN,T FOLLOW IT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT WAS VERY INSISTENT IN THE FACT THAT HIS FAMILY DID NOT
FOLLOW THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBERS

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Word Letter

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"FASCHING"

FASCHING IS A CARNIVAL LIKE A PARADE WHICH BEGINS ON THE 6TH
( SIXTH ) OF JANUARY UNTIL THE TUESDAY BEFORE ASH WEDNESDAY. THE
PEOPLE IN GERMANY DURING THE "FASCHING" PARADE IN COSTUMES OF ALL
KINDS AND HAVE MANY DECORATED FLOATS. ALSO A PRINCE AND PRINCESS
WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN CHOSEN FOR THIS OCCASION ON THE 11TH
( ELEVENTH ) OF NOVEMBER, APPEAR IN DANCES AROUND THE CITY. IN A
FEW PLACES THE PEOPLE WALK ON STILTS AND WEAR MASKS SO AS TO SCARE
THE EVIL SPIRITS OF LONG AGO. THE PEOPLE ENJOY THE MASQUERADES,
DANCES, AND FLOATS, WHICH COST THEM A GOOD SUM OF MONEY. THEREFORE,
ON ASH WEDNESDAY THE PEOPLE GO TO A WELL OR SPRING AND WASH
OUT THEIR PURSES BECAUSE THEY ARE EMPTY AFTER ALL THE EXPENSES OF
THE FASCHING.

Data entry tech comment: FASCHING MEANS RUNNING AROUND CRAZILY. (TRANSLATED FROM THE ANCIENT
GERMANIC WORD VASEN.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MARYGROVE COLLEGE ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): WATER

Subject headings: 663 Ash Wednesday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F111
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Pre Lent

Date learned: 11-00-1970

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KREWE

THIS IS THE GENERIC TERM FOR CARNIVAL ORGANIZATIONS. THERE ARE
66, REX IS THE OLDEST AND CELEBRATED ITS 100TH
PARADE AND BALL THIS YEAR. SOME GROUPS
SPONSOR ONLY A PARADE OR BALL BUT MANY HAVE BOTH. THE MARDI GRAS
LASTS FROM 12TH NIGHT TO THE TUESDAY BEFORE ASH WEDNESDAY.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Keyword(s): FEASTING BEFORE FASTING

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
663 Ash Wednesday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany

Date learned: 02-00-1971

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AN OLD POLISH CUSTOM

TO CHASE BUGS AND EVIL SPIRITS FROM YOUR HOME, MARK THE EDGES OF THE
DOORS AND WINDOWS WITH CHALK WHICH HAS BEEN BLESSED ON JANUARY 6.

Submitter comment: MY GRANDMOTHER RECEIVED THIS INFORMATION FROM HER HUSBAND, MANY
YEARS BEFORE HIS DEATH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

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

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AN OLD POLISH CUSTOM

ON JANUARY 6, THE PARISH PRIESTS USED TO COME TO THE HOUSES OF THE
FAITHFUL AND BLESS THEM AND WRITE THE INITIALS OF THE THREE WISE
MEN IN CHALK ON ALL THE DOORS TO DRIVE ALL EVIL OUT OF THE HOUSE.

Submitter comment: MY GRANDMOTHER LEARNED THIS CUSTOM WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD, LIVING
WITH HER FAMILY IN WARSAW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

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

Date learned: 04-08-1965

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CUSTOM

THE NEW YEAR IS CELEBRATED FOR 7 DAYS IN JAPAN. DURING THIS TIME,
GREETING CALLS ARE MADE ON FAMILY FRIENDS, AND EACH ENTERTAINS THE
OTHER WITH ELABORATE AND TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR DISHES WHICH ARE ALL
PREPARED BY THE NEW YEAR AND CONTAINED IN TRADITIONAL LACQUERED
BOXES. LITTLE BOYS FLY PAINTED KITES; GIRLS PLAY BATTLEDORE AND
SHUTTLECOCK, WHILE AT SOCIAL GATHERINGS (WHERE BOYS AND GIRLS,
UNTIL THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION, PLAYED TOGETHER IN AN OTHERWISE
SEGREGATED SOCIETY) POEM CARD GAMES ARE PLAYED.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT GREW UP IN JAPAN BEFORE THE END OF WORLD WAR II.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): VISITING

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39815
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39816
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 4
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 5
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 7
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 F642.101
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals

Date learned: 08-01-1964

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JOURNEY OF THE THREE WISE MEN

AT CHRISTMAS TIME WHEN THE STABLE IS SET UP THE MAGI ARE NOT PLACED
AROUND THE CRIB BUT ARE PLACED A NOTICEABLE DISTANCE FROM IT. EACH
DAY THE THREE FIGURES ARE MOVED CLOSER SO THAT ON JANUARY 6TH, LITTLE
CHRISTMAS, THE THREE WISE MEN ARRIVE AT THE STABLE.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Keyword(s): EPIPHANY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Manger scenes

Date learned: 10-22-1968

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THE IRISH-AMERICANS TRADITIONALLY LEAVE A LIT CANDLE IN THE
WINDOW FROM CHRISTMAS EVE TO THE EPIPHANY TO LIGHT THE WAY
FOR THE THREE WISE MEN.

Submitter comment: NO KNOWLEDGE OF HOW THE INFORMANT LEARNED THE ITEM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles

Date learned: 10-04-1967

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CHRISTMAS TRADITION

IT IS (A) CUSTOM IN OUR HOUSE TO LEAVE THE CHRISTMAS TREE UP
UNTIL EPIPHANY, SO AS THE THREE KINGS CAN VISIT THE MANGER WHICH
IS UNDER THE TREE.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Manger scenes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas tree

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM (POLISH)

THE CHRISTMAS TREE WAS NEVER TAKEN DOWN BEFORE THE FEAST OF THE MAGI.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas tree

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD YOU RECEIVE WITH A PICTURE OF THE
THREE KINGS, YOU TACK UP ABOVE YOUR FRONT DOORWAY INSIDE THE HOUSE,
TO ENSURE THE BLESSINGS OF THE THREE KINGS ON YOUR HOUSE FOR THE
COMING YEAR. YOU LEAVE IT UP UNTIL THE FOLLOWING YEAR, WHEN THE
CUSTOM IS REPEATED.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; TOLD IN ; SCRANTON

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards
BELIEF -- Number

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