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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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NEW YEAR'S BELIEF

IF THE FIRST PERSON TO VISIT YOU ON NEW YEAR'S DAY IS FAIR-HAIRED THERE WILL BE MUCH TROUBLE FOR YOU THAT YEAR.

IF THE FIRST PERSON TO VISIT IS DARK-HAIRED THEN THERE WILL BE GOOD LUCK FOR THE YEAR.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING

Subject headings: 686 686.1
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.42

Date learned: 09-10-1972

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NEW YEAR'S BELIEF

IT IS CONSIDERED GOOD LUCK TO ACCIDENTLY BREAK A GOBLET ON NEW
YEAR'S EVE, BUT CONVERSELY BAD LUCK TO DO SO ON NEW YEAR'S DAY.

Submitter comment:

Informant says this has been observed for generations in her family, though she does not give much credence to it today.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): CONTRAST

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F123
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.4
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.42

Date learned: 09-10-1972

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NEW YEAR'S CUSTOM

IN ORDER TO ENSURE GOOD LUCK THROUGHOUT THE COMING YEAR, SAUERKRAUT AND PORK
MUST BE SERVED AT THE MAIN MEAL NEW YEAR'S DAY.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
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
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 09-10-1972

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HANG THE FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD WITH THE THREE WISE MEN IN IT OVER
THE DOOR EACH CHRISTMAS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 686.1
686 686.1
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-00-1972

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WHEN WE VISITED SOMEONE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE FIRST OF THE
YEAR WE HAD TO TAKE THEM SOMETHING. IF THE FAMILY WAS NOT
TAKEN SOMETHING THEY WOULD BE IN NEED FOR THE REST OF THE
YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

James Callow Keyword(s): GIFT-GIVING AT NEW YEAR'S SEASON

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Year
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 10-20-1972

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ADVENT CANDLES

ON THE FIRST SUNDAY IN DECEMBER, THE SWISS MAKE A HOLLY WREATH WITH
FOUR CANDLES. EACH SUNDAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS THEY READ PART OF THE
CHRISTMAS STORY FROM THE BIBLE AND LIGHT ANOTHER CANDLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: 645 645.2
686 686.1
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F120
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 11-04-1972

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LEAD LEAVES

ON NEW YEAR'S EVE GERMANS MELT LEAD. YOU THROW IT INTO
COLD WATER. THEY WILL TELL YOUR FORTUNE FOR THE COMING
YEAR BY THE WAY THE LEAD BREAKS UP INTO PIECES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F123
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-04-1972

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BELIEF

IT'S A RELIGIOUS BELIEF TO PUT STRAW UNDER THE TABLE CLOTH TO
REPRESENT THE CHRIST CHILD'S MANGER AT CHRISTMAS.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S FAMILY DOES THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 10-09-1972

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

AT CHRISTMAS A SPECIAL WAFER WITH A HOLY PICTURE ON IT WAS PASSED
AROUND THE DINNER TABLE AND EVERYONE TOOK A BITE. IT WOULD BRING
GOD'S BLESSING ON EVERYONE

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S FAMILY DID THIS WHEN SHE WAS SMALL

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MONROE

James Callow Keyword(s): OPLATKI

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 10-07-1972

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CHRISTMAS

IN MALTA, YOU SPEND ALL DAY IN CHURCH TO BRING A GOOD NEW YEAR.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year

Date learned: 03-21-1975

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NEW YEAR'S EVE

ON NEW YEAR'S EVE, BANG POTS AND PANS TO WELCOME THE NEW YEAR.

Where learned: HOME ; SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

ON CHRISTMAS EVE MORNING WASH YOURSELF IN SILVER MONEY SO THAT YOU
WILL ALWAYS HAVE MONEY IN THE NEW YEAR TO COME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 00001930S

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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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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

THE ARMENIAN SANTA CLAUS IS CALLED BUFFANA. IT IS A LEGEND
THAT AT CHRISTMAS TIME BUFFANA GOES THROUGH ALL THE STREETS OF
ARMENIA AND PASSES OUT PRESENTS TO ALL THE POOR CHILDREN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Religious hero
SPEECH -- Proper Name

Date learned: 02-26-1971

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CHRISTMAS BELIEF

WHEN THE MORNING SKY IS RED AROUND CHRISTMAS TIME, IT IS MRS.
SANTA CLAUS BAKING LOTS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES.

Submitter comment: LEGEND TOLD TO ELAINE BY GERMAN GRANDMOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

James Callow Keyword(s): COLOR SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Natural atmospheric phenomenon

Date learned: 11-20-1967

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SANTA CLAUS

ONE OF THE MOST WIDESPREAD LEGENDS I CAN THINK OF IS THAT
OF SANTA CLAUS. NOT ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES, BUT IN MANY
COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THERE IS SOME
KIND OF JOLLY OLD MAN WHO BRINGS TOYS AND PRESENTS TO ALL GOOD
LITTLE BOYS AND GIRLS AT CHRISTAMS TIME.

Where learned: CHICAGO

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Secular hero

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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OPLATEK

BEFORE THE EVENING MEAL ON CHRISTMAS EVE, OPLATEK IS SERVED TO
EVERYONE PRESENT.
OPLATEK IS A THIN UNLEVEN(ED) WAFER SIMILAR TO THE HOST IN A CATHOLIC
CHURCH. EACH PERSON BREAKS OFF A SMALL PIECE OF ANOTHER'S
WAFER, WISHING HIM GOOD LUCK FOR THE COMING YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HAMTRAMCK

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

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THE CHRISTMAS TREE

ALL THE CHRISTMAS TREES IN POLAND ARE DECORATED WITH ORNAMENTS
MADE BY THE PEOPLE OF THE HOUSE. THESE ARE USED FROM
YEAR TO YEAR. SOMETIMES NUTS AND CRANBERRIES ARE
STRUNG TOGETHER AND THE GARLAND HUNG ON THE BRANCHES OF THE TREE.
THE LIGHTS ARE USUALLY SMALL CANDLES LIT CAREFULLY BY THE LADY
OF THE HOUSE. THE TREE IS ALWAYS DECORATED ON CHRISTMAS EVE,
LONG AFTER THE LITTLE ONES HAVE GONE TO BED.

Submitter comment: RECEIVED BY LETTER FROM POLAND SEVERAL YEARS AGO

Where learned: POLAND ; KRAKOW

James Callow Keyword(s): PLANTS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
Food Drink -- Plant food Fruit
Food Drink -- Plant food Nut

Date learned: 12-01-1975

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SLOVAK CHRISTMAS SUPPER CUSTOM

BEFORE CHRISTMAS DINNER THE OLDEST MALE MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD
TAKES A CLOVE OF GARLIC AND DIPS IT INTO HONEY. HE THEN MAKES
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS ON THE FOREHEAD OF EACH MEMBER OF THE
HOUSEHOLD. THIS SIGNIFIES THE SWEETNESS AND BITTERNESS OF LIFE.

Submitter comment: SLOVAK IMMIGRANTS. THEY NOW LIVE IN ERII, PENNSYLVANIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Forehead
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

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SLOVAK CHRISTMAS SUPPER CUSTOM

HAY WOULD BE PLACED UNDER THE SUPPER TABLE ON CHRISTMAS TO
SIGNIFY THE STABLE IN WHICH CHRIST WAS BORN.

Submitter comment: JOHN MIHAL
LEARNED THIS ITEM FROM HIS FATHER'S PARENTS WHO WERE
SLOVAK IMMIGRANTS. THEY NOW LIVE IN ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
Food Drink -- Service Table furnishing and decoration

Date learned: 10-15-1975

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