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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CUSTOM

AFTER MIDNIGHT MASS AT CHRISTMAS ANYONE WHO COMES INTO THE HOUSE
IS OFFERED UNLEAVENED BREAD AND WINE TO WISH THEM A BLESSED
CHRISTMAS.

Submitter comment: LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER-IN-LAW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Mount Clemens

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Gifts, gift giving at Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards

Date learned: 03-20-1967

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SMELTS

AN ITALIAN CUSTOM IS TO EAT SMELTS ON CHRISTMAS EVE.
THEY SYMBOLIZE THE FISHERMEN (APOSTLES) AND THE COMING OF CHRIST

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
Food Drink -- Meat Fish and other animal life related to water

Date learned: 11-03-1972

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GOOD LUCK NUT

NUTS ARE PLACED IN DISHES AS PART OF THE CHRISTMAS FEAST CELEBRATION
IN BULGARIA. EVERYONE IN THE HOUSEHOLD RETAINS ONE TO BE SAVED
UNTIL NEW YEARS DAY. EVERYONE THEN BREAKS OPEN THEIR NUT AND THE
CONDITION OF THE INTERIOR INDICATES THE OWNER'S FUTURE FOR THE
COMING YEAR. A SOUND NUT MEAT INDICATES PROSPERITY FOR ITS OWNER,
WHILE A ROTTEN INTERIOR SAYS THE COMING YEAR WILL NOT BE GOOD FOR
ITS OWNER.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT REMEMBERS THIS AS A COMMON PRACTICE OF HIS FAMILY IN
BULGARIA.

Where learned: DETROIT ; TOLD AT HENDRICKSONS PHARMACY

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Predictions

Date learned: 03-21-1970

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

INFORMANT'S FAMILY OPENS THE GIFTS AT 12 O'CLOCK MIDNIGHT,
FOLLOWED BY A CUSTOMARY MEAL OF HOT PASTROMI ON DARK RYE BREAD.

Where learned: TOLD AT HOME ; NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Gifts, gift giving at Christmas

Date learned: 01-00-1971

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ON XMAS EVE, A DISH CALLED "KUTYA" IS SERVED TO MEMBERS OF THE
FAMILY. THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY TAKES A SPOONFUL AND TOSSES IT OVER
HIS BACK TOWARDS THE CEILING AND IF IT STICKS, GOOD LUCK RESULTS.

Submitter comment: THIS IS A UKRAINIAN CUSTOM

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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CUSTOM--FESTIVAL

IN UKRAINE, DURING SUPPER ON CHRISTMAS EVE, THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD
FILLS A SPOON WITH "KUTYA" (BOILED WHEAT WITH HONEY AND POPPY SEEDS),
AND FLINGS IT AT THE CEILING. THE NUMBER OF GRAINS WHICH STICK TO
THE CEILING WILL EQUAL THAT OF BAILS (BALES) OF WHEAT COLLECTED
DURING THE NEXT HARVEST.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT RECIEVED INFORMATION FROM RELATIONS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 10-07-1967

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TRADITION

AT THE TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS EVE SUPPER WE HAD PRUNE FILLED DUMPLINGS
CALLED "PEROGI". A FEW PIECES WERE PUT ASIDE UNFILLED. INTO THESE
A NAME ON A SLIP OF PAPER OF SINGLE FELLOWS WAS SEALED IN. THEY
WERE PUT INTO BOILING WATER AND THE DUMPLING THAT CAME TO THE TOP
FIRST WAS OPENED. THE GIRL WOULD MARRY THE YOUNG MAN WHOSE NAME WAS
IN IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; MARRIAGE PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: 11-22-1968

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IF YOU EAT NO BEANS ON CHRISTMAS DAY, YOU WILL BECOME AN ASS.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO HER BY A NEGRO COOK WORKING FOR THEM DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
THE COOK'S MOTHER ALWAYS MADE EACH MEMBER EAT A HELPING OF BEANS ON
CHRISTMAS TO PRESERVE THEM FROM THIS FATE.

Where learned: OHIO ; LIMA

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: 02-00-1968

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WATER NOT DRUNK AT CHRISTMAS

IN UKRAINE, IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF YOU DRINK WATER DURING CHRISTMAS
SUPPER, THERE WILL BE A VERY HOT SUMMER, AND GREAT THIRST WHILE
WORKING IN THE FIELDS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM RELATIVES IN UKRAINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM WATER ; FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: 11-19-1967

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CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATION

THE MAIN FEATURE DURING CHRISTMAS EVE IS THE EVENING MEAL CALLED
"HOLY SUPPER" (SVYATA VECHERA). THE SUPPER ON HOLY NIGHT HAS
TWELVE LENTEN DISHES, SYMBOLIC OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES WHO GATHERED
AT THE LAST SUPPER. THESE DISHES OMIT ALL ANIMAL FAT, MILK,
AND MILK PRODUCTS BECAUSE DURING CHRISTMAS EVE THERE IS A STRICT
FAST. THE TABLE IS SET FIRST WITH A SMALL HANDFUL OF FINE HAY IN
MEMORY OF THE CHRIST CHILD IN A MANGER. OVER IT IS SPREAD THE
VERY BEST TABLECLOTH ADORNED WITH NATIVE EMBROIDERY. BREAD (KOLACH)
DECORATES THE CENTRAL TABLE. THE KOLACH IS THREE ROUND, BRAIDED
LOAVES, WHICH IS PLACED ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER WITH A CANDLE
INSERTED INTO THE TOP LOAF, AND THE BOTTOM LOAF IS ENCIRCLED
WITH TINY TWIGS OF EVERGREEN. A LIGHTED CANDLE IS ALWAYS PLACED
IN THE WINDOW AS AN INVITATION TO ANY HOMELESS STRANGER TO JOIN
THE FAMILY IN CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
PRIOR TO THE EVENING MEAL A SPOONFUL OF EACH DISH IS MIXED INTO
THE FOOD OF THE DOMESTIC ANIMALS, BECAUSE ANIMALS WERE THE FIRST
CREATURES TO BEHOLD THE NEW-BORN CHRIST. THE FIRST STAR IN THE
EASTERN SKY ANNOUNCES THE TIME FOR THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE MEAL.
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY GATHER AROUND THE TABLE AND BEGIN THE MEAL
WITH THE LORD'S PRAYER. THE FIRST DISH IS KUTYA , A PREPARATION OF
COOKED WHEAT DRESSED WITH HONEY, GROUND POPPY SEED AND SOMETIMES
CHOPPED NUTS. THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY RAISES THE FIRST SPOONFUL
OF THE KUTYA, AND GREETS THE FAMILY WITH KHRYSTOS RODYVSYA}"
(CHRIST IS BORN}), TO WHICH THEY ALL REPLY "SLAVIN YOHO}"
(LET US GLORIFY HIM). AFTER THIS EVERYONE PARTAKES OF THE KUTYA.
KUTYA IS FOLLOWED WITH AN APPETTZER OF PICKLED HERRINGS OR PICKLED
MUSHROOMS, OR WITH A SERVING OF BORSCH (BEET SOUP). AFTER THE
APPETIZERS COMES THE ENTREES. SOME OF THE ENTREES ARE HOLUBTSI
WITH RICE OR BUCKWHEAT (STUFFED CABBAGE), SAUERKRAUT WITH PEAS,
VARENYKY WITH POTATOES OR SAUERKRAUT (DUMPLINGS), AND MAYBE
BAKED BEETS. FOLLOWING THE ENTREES COMES THE DESSERT, SUCH AS
VARENYKY WITH PRUNES, VARENYKY WITH POPPY SEEDS, AND COMPOTE OF
DRIED FRUIT. AFTER THE MEAL, THE FAMILY JOINS IN SINGING CHRISTMAS
CAROLS AND GENERAL MERRY-MAKING. IT IS STRICTLY A FAMILY EVENING.
AFTER MIDNIGHT THE FAMILY ATTENDS A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SERVICE
ENRICHED WITH CHORAL MUSIC. THROUGH THE FOLLOWING DAYS ORGANIZED
GROUPS OF CAROLLERS VISIT THE HOMES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Table setting and clearing
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Menus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Pastry
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Songs, caroling
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 12-03-1977

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ALABAMA CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

"IT BROUGHT THE FAMILY GOOD LUCK TO SERVE PLUM PUDDING WITH
CHRISTMAS DINNER".

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS ITEM AS A CHILD IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
FROM HIS MOTHER, CIRCA 1928. SHE LEARNED IT FROM HER MOTHER
IN ALABAMA CIRCA 1900.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALABAMA ; DETROIT ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 11-22-1980 ; 00-00-1928 ; 00-00-1900

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ITALIAN CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER

EEL IS SERVED FOR DINNER ON CHRISTMAS EVE. THIS IS AN
ITALIAN CUSTOM WHICH SHE LEARNED FROM HER FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CARPOOL ; EAST SIDE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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MANY POLISH FAMILIES HAVE A BIG DINNER ON CHRISTMAS EVE,
USUALLY AT THE HOUSE OF THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY.
BEFORE THE FAST LAWS WERE CHANGED, THIS DINNER USUALLY
WAS FISH RATHER THAN MEAT. DURING THE MEAL, THE HEAD
OF THE FAMILY WOULD GET UP, GO AROUND THE TABLE, AND
RUB EVERYONE ON THE HEAD WITH HIS HAND. THIS WAS
SUPPOSED TO BE A WAY OF UNITING THE FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards

Date learned: 03-20-1967

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DIFFERENCE IN MEAT COURSES AT CHRISTMAS

IN THIS FAMILY, THE FATHER'S SIDE HAS GOOSE FOR THE
MEAL MEAL AND THE MOTHER'S SIDE HAS TURKEY.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANTS LEARNED IT FROM THEIR PARENTS.

Where learned: HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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ON CHRISTMAS EVE, THE RUSSIANS EAT RAW GARLIC DIPPED IN HONEY.
THE GARLIC IS TO CHASE AWAY THE BAD HEALTH AND THE HONEY IS
TO BRING ON THE GOOD HEALTH.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT AND HIS FAMILY STILL FOLLOW THIS CUSTOM FOR
RUSSIAN CHRISTMAS (USUALLY JANUARY 7).

Where learned: NEW JERSEY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 7
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes

Date learned: 00001950S

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showing 15 items

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