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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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NEVER CUT A BABY'S FINGERNAILS BEFORE HE IS ONE YEAR OLD
OR HE WILL BE A THIEF.

Submitter comment: COLLECTOR: FROM MY MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 10-28-1970

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IT IS A GOOD SIGN IF THE BABY IS BORN WITH A LIGHT FILM
OF SKIN COVERING ITS FACE. IT MEANS THAT THE BABY WILL
BE INTELLIGENT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER GRANDMOTHER (IRISH).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): CAUL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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POLISH

ON A BABY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY, PLACE A WINE GLASS, A
PRAYER BOOK, AND SOME COINS. WHATEVER HE REACHES
FOR FIRST WILL INDICATE THE TYPE OF CAREER HE
CHOOSES. THE INW GLASS INDICATES THAT HE WILL
BE A DRUNK; THE PRAYER BOOK, A PRIEST; AND THE
COINS, A BUSINESSMAN.

Submitter comment: WE TRIED THIS AT THE FIRST BIRTHDAY OF MY CURRENTLY
SEVEN YEAR OLD COUSIN. ONLY TROUBLE WAS THAT HE
KNOCKED ALL THREE OBJECTS OFF THE HIGH CHAIR
TRAY AT ONCE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): IN A HIGH CHAIR. ; SEVEN MONTH OLD COUSIN I HOPE, SINCE HE STILL IS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 00-00-1962

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WHEN A BABY IS VERY YOUNG, THE GRANDPARENTS OR
GODPARENTS LAY OUT THREE THINGS: DOLLAR BILL,
PRAYERBOOK AND ROSARY, AND A HAIR BOW.
WHATEVER THE BABY GRABS FIRST WILL BE A PREDICTION
OF HIS LEANING IN LIFE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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ON A BABY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY, PLACE A ROSARY, WHISKEY
GLASS AND SOME MONEY BEFORE HIM. WHICHEVER HE
PICKS WILL BE WHAT HE BECOMES: A PRIEST, A DRUNK,
OR A WEALTHY PERSON.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS THIS WAS A PRACTICED CUSTOM AMONG
HER FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 02-12-1971

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WHEN A BABY IS ABLE TO GRASP AND RECOGNIZE OBJECTS
A TRAY IS PLACED IN FRONT OF HIM CONTAINING OBJECTS
OF DIFFERENT OCCUPATIONS, SUCH AS A HAMMER, ROSARY,
PENCIL, SLIDERULE, ETC. WHICHEVER THE BABY
GRASPS IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT WHAT HIS OCCUPATION
WILL BE.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 09-10-1969

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IN POLAND, ON A CHILD'S FIRST BIRTHDAY, YOU PUT
FIVE OBJECTS IN FRONT OF HIM OR HER. THESE OBJECTS
ARE: A BOOK, A ROSARY, A WINE GLASS, A PAIR OF
SCISSORS, AND CIGARETTES. IF A CHILD CHOOSES
THE BOOK, HE WILL BE INTELLIGENT. IF HE CHOOSES
THE ROSARY, HE WILL BE A PRIEST OR NUN. IF HE
CHOOSES THE WINE GLASS, HE WILL BE AN ALCOHOLIC.
IF THE CIGARETTES, HE'LL BE A TRAMP. IF A CHILD
CHOOSES THE SCISSORS, SHE'LL BE A GOOD HOUSEWIFE.
ON MY FIRST BIRTHDAY (THERESA) I CHOSE THE
SCISSORS AND I CAN SEW AND COOK QUITE WELL..

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; SAINT HYACINTH SCHOOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 02-01-1972

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IF A CHILD IS SICK, DROP OIL IN WARM WATER; IF IT
SEPARATES, THE CHILD WILL DIE. IF IT DOESN'T
SEPARATE, THE CHILD WILL GET WELL.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS THIS IS PRACTICED AMONG SOME ITALIAN GROUPS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 03-23-1972

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ANOTHER WELL KNOWN SUPERSTITION RELATES, WHEN A
CHILD IS A YEAR OLD, IF A DOLLAR, A PRAYERBOOK, AND
A WHISKEY GLASS ARE PLACED BEFORE HIM, WHICHEVER
HE CHOOSES WILL DETERMINE HIS FATE IN LIFE. IF
HE CHOOSES THE DOLLAR, HE WILL BE A WEALTHY MAN; A
PRAYER BOOK, A RELIGIOUS MAN; A WHISKEY GLASS, A
DRINKING MAN.

Submitter comment: NON-ETHNIC.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 09-30-1968

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WHEN A CHILD IS ONE YEAR OLD, THE PARENTS PRESENT
A TRAY WITH DIFFERENT TRINKETS THAT COULD FORETELL
THE FUTURE, E.G., AN EGG WOULD MEAN GOOD
FORTUNE, A PEN WOULD MEAN THE CHILD WOULD BECOME
A SECRETARY. THIS IS PERFORMED AGAINST A PARTY
ATMOSPHERE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 03-08-1970

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ON THE HUNDREDTH DAY AFTER THE BIRTH OF A MALE
CHILD, A TRAY CONTAINING VARIOUS ITEMS OR SMALL
ARTICLES OF APPAREL, TOILET, TEC. (SIC), USED BY
BOTH MALES AND FEMALES, IS PLACED BEFORE HIM.
WHATEVER HE GRASPS IS SUPPOSED TO INDICATE HIS
CHARACTER DURING HIS LIFE.

Submitter comment: SOURCE: CHINA OR FORMOSA

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 02-15-1968

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WHEN A CHILD IS ONE YEAR OLD, IT IS A POLISH-AMERICAN
CUSTOM TO PLACE A SILVER DOLLAR, A WHISKEY GLASS
AND A PILE OF BLACK DIRT ON THE FLOOR.. THE BABY IS
THEN ALLOWED TO CRAWL TOWARD ONE. THE "CHOICE" HE THEN
MAKES TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE HE WILL LEAD. THE
MONEY MEANS THAT HE WILL BE WEALTHY, THE WHISKEY
GLASS MEANS THAT HE WILL BE A DRUNK, AND THE DIRT
MEANS THAT HE WILL HAVE AN EARLY DEATH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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FESTIVAL OF ANNA PRASAN

SIX MONTHS AFTER THE BIRTH OF A BABY, HE IS NOW ALLOWED
TO EAT SOLID FOODS. FRIENDS ARE INVITED TO CELEBRATE
THE HAPPY OCCASION; THEY BRING GIFTS FOR THE BABY.
THREE OBJECTS ARE PLACED BEFORE THE BABY, REPRESENTING
EDUCATION, WEALTH, AND RELIGION. IF THE CHILD
FIRST GRASPS A PEN, HE WILL BE A SCHOLAR, IF HE
GRASPS THE COIN, HE WILL ACQUIRE GREAT WEALTH,
AND IF HE GRASPS THE RELIGIOUS SYMBOL, HE WILL
EMBRACE THE CLERGY.

Submitter comment: FROM CALCUTTA, INDIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; INDIA ; CALCUTTA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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showing 13 items

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