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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BUILDING CUSTOM

WHENEVER YOU BUILD A HOUSE NAIL AN EVERGREEN TREE TO THE RAFTERS
WHEN YOU ARE PUTTING THE ROOF ON. THIS GIVES LONG LIFE AND HAPPINESS
TO ALL WHO LIVE THERE.

Submitter comment: JOFRAN LEARNED THIS GERMAN CUSTOM FROM HER FATHER. THEY HAVE
PRACTICED IT IN THE PAST AND IT IS ONE OF HER FAVORITES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CAMPUS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Plan, design, color, building material, and technic
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Roof Ceiling
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Home

Date learned: CA00001968

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UPON THE COMPLETION OF A STEEL STRUCTURE, AN AMERICAN FLAG
IS PLACED ON THE HIGHEST POINT OF THE STRUCTURE.

Submitter comment: THIS IS DONE TO SHOW EVERYONE THAT THE STEEL WORKERS'
WORK IS DONE.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SCRANTON

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Irregular
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN THE FLEMISH BUILD A HOUSE, AND THE WALL BOARD IS UP,
THEY TIE AN EVERGREEN TO THE CORNER OF THE HOUSE.

Submitter comment: TOLD BY GRANDMOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone

Date learned: 09-00-1967

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WHEN ERECTING A NEW BUILDING IN GERMANY, THEY PLACE A SPRIG
OF PINE OR SPRUCE, OR FIR TREE AT THE TOP OF THE POLE
AND IT STAYS THERE FOR ONE YEAR AFTER COMPLETION. THIS
IS FOR GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: HE ACTUALLY SAW THIS IN GERMANY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; GERMANY ; DETROIT ; DEARBORN ; TV STUDIO

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 09-28-1970

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IN ENGLAND, NEW BUILDINGS ARE ADORNED WITH A WREATH, AND
A PARTY IS GIVEN BY THE BUILDER AND THE OWNER AS A GOOD
LUCK CELEBRATION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ENGLAND ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THERE IS A CUSTOM THAT A TWIG OR A TREE IS PLACED ON THE TOP
OF A HOUSE AFTER ALL OF THE FRAME STRUCTURE IS COMPLETED.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS TOLD TO ME BY MY DAD IN 1964-5 AT HOME IN NEW
YORK.

Where learned: NEW YORK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone

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WHEN A SLOVAK OR RUSSIAN FAMILY MOVE INTO A NEW HOME, A
PRIEST AND HIS CANTOR (IF THE FAMILY IS CATHOLIC) ARE
INVITED TO BLESS THE HOUSE. THE CANTOR RESPONDS TO THE
PRIEST'S PRAYERS AS THEY WALK THROUGH EACH ROOM, THE
PRIEST SPRINKLING HOLY WATER EVERYWHERE. THE PRIEST
DISTRIBUTES HOLY CARDS TO THE FAMILY MEMBERS.

Submitter comment: THIS IS DONE FOR GOOD LUCK AND FOR GOOD HEALTH IN THE
NEW HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 03-22-1970

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A CUSTOM OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS (CEMENT LAYERS) IS TO
CELEBRATE THE FIRST LAYER OF CEMENT IN A BUILDING.

Submitter comment: I USED TO WORK CONSTRUCTION; WE USED TO CELEBRATE THE
LAYING OF EVERY FLOOR, BY GETTING DRUNK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN ORDER TO HAVE GOOD LUCK WHILE OWNING A BUSINESS, BURY
THE NECK OF A CHICKEN IN THE FOUNDATION OF A NEW
BUILDING.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT ACTUALLY PRACTICED THIS WHEN HER HUSBAND OPENED
A BUSINESS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. SHE HEARD THIS FROM AN
OLD WOMAN WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD IN HER NATIVE TOWN IN
ROMANIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 11-08-1971

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PUT A COIN, HEADS UP, BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE BUILDING
IS LAID OR AT THE FOUNDING RITE. IF YOU DO NOT, THE
OWNER OF THE BUILDING WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT BELIEVES THIS IS ACTUALLY TRUE AND CITED
SEVERAL INSTANCES WHERE WHEN THIS WAS NOT DONE, THE OWNER
OF THE BUILDING SOON HAD BAD LUCK. SHE ADDED, HOWEVER,
THAT THE PEOPLE SHE KNOWS JUST DO IT OUT OF CUSTOM.
COIN IS JUST THROWN IN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 11-08-1971

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THE BOYS I PLAYED BASEBALL WITH AND I, OFTEN DUPED
A NEW PLAYER INTO BELIEVING THAT THERE WERE LEFT-
HANDED AND RIGHT-HANDED BASEBALL BATS. I NOTED THE
SAME JOKE IN AAA PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL IN CHATANOOGA,
TENNESSEE IN 1958 PLAYED ON A MUCH OLDER FELLOW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; BIRMINGHAM ; TENNESSEE ; CHATANOOGA

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Foundation rite Laying of cornerstone

Date learned: 12-00-1971 ; 00-00-1958 ; 00001950S

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showing 11 items

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