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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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MOON RAYS

THIS INFORMANT SAID THAT HIS MOTHER BELIEVES THAT IT CAN BE
VERY HARMFUL IF A PERSON ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE EXPOSED TO THE
DIRECT RAYS OF THE MOON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 03-15-1967

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SUPERSTITION

ALAYS CUT YOUR HAIR WHEN THE MOON IS GROWING, NEVER SHRINKING,
AND IT WILL GROW FASTER.

Submitter comment: SOURCE NOT REMEMBERED.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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FISHING SUPERSTITION

IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE TO GO FISHING BY THE DARK OF THE MOON BECAUSE
THEN THE FISH CAN'T SEE IF YOUR BAIT IS FAKE OR NOT.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A CANADIAN FISHERMAN ABOUT 1945.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IF A WOMAN IS PREGNANT AND EXPECTING WITHIN A NUMBER OF DAYS OR
WEEKS, A FULL MOON WILL CAUSE THE CHILD TO COME QUICKER.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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THE HANGING SHADOW

THERE WAS A BOY IN PITTSBURGH WHO WAS HAVING SEVERE TROUBLE WITH
HIS FAMILY. HE WENT AND HANGED HIMSELF IN A DESERTED HOUSE NEXT
DOOR. THE MOON SHONE ON HIM AND CAST THE SHADOW OF HIM HANGING
ONTO HIS OWN HOUSE. THAT IS HOW HE WAS DISCOVERED. THE HOUSE
HAS BEEN PAINTED AND REPAINTED, BUT YOU CAN STILL SEE THE OUTLINE
OF A BODY HANGING FROM A NOOSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
PROSE NARRATIVE -- B680
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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SEEING A FULL MOON OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER BRINGS
GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Upper body, arms, neck
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Good luck Objects

Date learned: 10-23-1968

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IF YOU SLEEP IN THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR
MIND OR BECOME A LUNATIC.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD FROM HIS MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 09-28-1967

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MOON

A RING AROUND THE MOON MEANS IT WILL RAIN. IF THE STARS ARE OUT,
IT WILL BE CLEAR TOMORROW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Observation of galactic or celestial bodies

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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WARTS

IF YOU HAVE A WART, RUB IT WITH A POTATOE, BURY IT UNDER A FULL
MOON AT MIDNIGHT, AND WHEN IT ROTS, YOUR WART WILL BE GONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Specific distinguishing characteristic Dimple, wart, mole, scar, freckle, birthmark, strawberry mark, bruise, spot (on any part of body)
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Remedy

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EASTER CUSTOMS

EASTER OR VELYKDEN OCCUPIES THE CENTRAL POINT IN THE LITURGICAL
YEAR. ON EASTER SUNDAY THERE IS A PROCESSION AROUND THE CHURCH IN
THE EARLY MORNING. IT COMMEMORATES THE PROCESSION OF THE MYRRH
BEARING WOMEN, TO THE TOMB OF JESUS. EASTER BREAD OR "PASKA"
IS BLESSED AND EATEN, IT REPRESENTS CHRIST. EASTER EGGS OR "PYSANKY"
ARE DELICATELY AND INTRICATELY HAND PAINTED. THE ORIGIN OF THE
CUSTOM TO PAGAN UKRAINE HAD PAINTED EGG REPRESENTING THE RESURRECTION
TO A NEW LIFE OF NATURE IN THE SPRING. PYSANKY ARE EXCHANGED
THROUGHOUT THE THREE DAYS OF THE EASTER HOLIDAY, SUNDAY, MONDAY,
AND TUESDAY, WITH THE FAMILIAR GREETINGS "KHRYSTOS VOSKRES" TO
WHICH THE RECIPIENT REPLIES "VOISTYNU VOSKRES". THIS MEANS "CHRIST
IS RISEN" AND "HE IS RISEN INDEED". THE WHOLE WEEK AFTER EASTER IS
"ZAHALNYTSIA" OR COMPACT WEEK. MEAT WAS ORIGINALLY ALLOWED TO BE
EATEN.

Submitter comment: THIS CELEBRATION HAS CHANGED VERY LITTLE OVER THE YEARS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Palm Sunday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Season
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Elements
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day
BELIEF -- Moon
SPEECH -- Vocabulary of Special Group

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS

ON CHRISTMAS EVE "A HOLY SUPPER" IS SERVED WHEN THE FIRST EVENING
STAR APPEARS IN THE SKY. THE SUPPER CONSISTS OF NON-MEAT
FOODS, FOR THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS EVE IS DEVOTED TO PRAYER, FASTING
AND STRICT ABSTINENCE. THE FLOOR IS COVERED WITH STRAW AND THE
TABLE WITH HAY, A REMEMBRANCE THAT JESUS WAS BORN IN A STABLE
AND LAID IN A MANGER. A WHITE TABLE CLOTH IS SPREAD OVER
THE TABLE. ON THE CENTER OF THE TABLE A LARGE LIGHTED CANDLE
REPRESENTS THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM. FOR SUPPER THERE ARE TWELVE
PLATES. IT BEGINS WITH A PRAYER. THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY
DISTRIBUTES "PHOSPHORA", LITTLE PIECES OF BREAD WITH HONEY.
SUPPER CONSISTS OF ITEMS SUCH AS KUTIA, BOILED WHEAT AND HONEY,
BORSCH, BEET SOUP, HOLUBUTSI, CABBAGE ROLLS, PYRAHY, BOILED
ROLLS FILLED WITH MASHED POTATOES, CABBAGE AND CHEESE, AND FISH.
EACH A REMEMBRANCE OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES.
A SHEAF OF RYE IN THE CORNER OF THE ROOM IS A SYMBOL OF THE FERTILITY
OF THE UKRAINIAN SOIL. DURING SUPPER CAROLS ARE SUNG. GROUPS OF
CAROLERS VISIT THE HOME AND CAROL "KOLIADA" DURING THE EVENING.
A GROTTO IS CARRIED WITH THE SHEPHERDS AND MANGER AND ALSO THE
CAROLERS CARRY SIX OR EIGHT POINTED STARS WITH TWO SURFACES AND
A CANDLE IS PLACED BETWEEN THEM. THE CAROLERS REPRESENT THE
SHEPHERDS AND ANGELS, CAROLING IS POPULAR TO GLORIFY JESUS
AND MARY AND INSTILL RELIGIOUS TRUTHS TO THE PEOPLE. CAROLS
ORIGINATED IN THE 17 CENTURY. THE OLDEST IS "BOH PREDVICHNEY", THAT
IS "ETERNAL GOD IS BORN". THE CAROLS ARE IN TWO GROUPS, "KOLIADY"
AND "SCHEDRIVKY". THE FIRST GROUP IS RELIGIOUS AND THE SECOND
EXPRESSES GREETINGS PEOPLE GREET ONE ANOTHER WITH. AN EXAMPLE
IS "KHRYSTOS RAGHDAYETSIA" OR CHRIST IS BORN, THE ANSWER
"SLAVYTE YEHA" OR PRAISE HIM.

Submitter comment: THESE ARE VERY INVOLVED AND SYMBOLIC CUSTOMS FOR CHRISTMAS.
THEY ARE PRACTICED HERE AND IN THE UKRAINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.1224
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F455
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Moon
SPEECH -- Vocabulary of Special Group

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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LUCK

WHEN STIRRING GO IN ONLY ONE DIRECTION, OR YOUR BATTER WILL BE
SPOILED. AND IF YOU SEE AND KILL A SPIDER, IT IS BAD LUCK. ALSO
IF THE FIRST PERSON TO CROSS YOUR THRESHOLD AFTER NEW YEAR'S IS A
WOMAN, IT IS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: CHURCH PROCESSIONS ALSO COINCIDED WITH THE IDEA OF ONLY GOING IN
ONE DIRECTION, AS IS SEEN IN SOME FAIRY TALES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL ARACHNID

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
Food Drink -- Manner of preparation
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.3
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.42

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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FROGS

THE FIRST TIME YOU HEAR A FROG AT THE END OF WINTER, IT WILL GET
COLD AGAIN. THIS HAPPENS THREE TIMES BEFORE SPRING COMES.

Submitter comment: THIS BELIEF IS SIMILAR TO THE ONE THAT A GROUNDHOG MUST SEE HIS
SHADOW BEFORE SPRING COMES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL AMPHIBIAN

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control
BELIEF -- P663

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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SALT

WHEN YOU SPILL SALT, THROW SOME OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER TO
FRIGHTEN THE DEVIL AND EVIL SPIRITS AWAY. SPILLED SALT ALSO MEANS
TEARS ARE COMING, SO THROW SOME IN THE FIRE TO DRY THE TEARS UP
BEFORE THEY COME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Mineral

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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FOOD IN DRINK

IF YOU DROP FOOD IN YOUR COFFEE, COMPANY IS COMING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
Food Drink -- Non-alcoholic fruit beverage Coffee
BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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CHILDHOOD DREAMS

IF A BABY CRIES AT NIGHT, HOLD A PIECE OF CHEESECLOTH ABOVE IT
AND POUR HOT WAX ON THE CLOTH. THE WAX WILL FORM THE IMAGE OF THE
BABY'S DREAM, OR WHAT IT IS AFRAID OF.

Submitter comment: THIS SEEMS A RATHER DANGEROUS PRACTICE JUST TO SEE INTO THE MIND OF
A BABY. DREAMS DID HOWEVER, AND STILL DO SOMEWHAT, PLAY AN
IMPORTANT ROLE FOR SOME PEOPLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Spirit / Mind / Body
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Dreams

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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DOG HOWLING

IF YOU HEAR A DOG HOWLING, THEY SENSE A DEATH TO COME, OR THAT
SOMEONE IN THE FAMILY HAS DIED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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RAIN AND SNOW

IF A BUBBLE FORMS IN A PUDDLE OF RAIN, IT WILL RAIN ALL DAY. WHEN
YOU CAN HEAR YOURSELF WALKING IN THE SNOW, IT WILL GET COLDER.
AND IF IT RAINS ON A BRIDE'S WEDDING DAY, HER LIFE WILL BE FULL
OF TEARS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control
BELIEF -- Marriage Morning before wedding

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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NEW YEARS

WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING ON NEW YEAR'S EVE, YOU WILL DO IT FOR
THE REST OF THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: SOME SOURCES CLAIM IT IS WHAT YOU DO ALL WEEK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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UTENSIL DROPPING

IF YOU DROP A FORK, WHATEVER DIRECTION THE PRONGS ARE IN, A MAN WILL
COME FROM THAT DIRECTION. A KNIFE DROPPED MEANS A WOMAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
Food Drink -- Service Table furnishing and decoration Implement to handle food
BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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