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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SIGN OF THE CROSS

MANY UKRAINIAN WOMEN OFTEN USE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IN
CONNECTION WITH FOOD. THEY MAKE THE SIGN OVER THE LOAVES
OF BREAD BEFORE PUTTING THEM INTO THE OVEN FOR BAKING.
MANY WOMEN ALSO MAKE THE SIGN ON THE BOTTOM OF A LOAF OF
BREAD BEFORE BEGINNING TO SLICE IT. THE UKRAINIANS DEPENDED
ON BREAD AS A MAIN PART OF THEIR DAILY FOOD. SINCE UKRAINE
WAS THE BREADBASKET OF EUROPE, THEIR GRATITUDE AND THEIR
ACCEPTANCE OF THIS PLENTY WAS EXPRESSED THROUGH THIS SIMPLE
RELIGIOUS GESTURE OF ACKNOWLEDGING THE UNIVERSAL PROVIDER.

Submitter comment: I HAVE NEVER SEEN MY MOTHER SLICE A LOAF OF BREAD WITHOUT
MAKING A SIGN OF THE CROSS OVER THE BOTTOM OF THE LOAF.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 00001950S

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FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS-SEPTEMBER 14

UKRAINIANS OF THE BYZANTINE RITE VENERATE THE CROSS IN A
SPECIAL MANNER ON THIS DAY. FLOWERS, USUALLY RED ROSES OR
CARNATIONS ARE ARRANGED ON A WIRE BACKING. THE CROSS IS THEN
PLACED ON TOP OF THE FLORAL ARRANGEMENT WITH A CHALICE PATEN
UNDER IT. A RED MATERIAL, SOMETIMES A PART OF THE PRIEST'S
VESTMENT, IS TIED AROUND THE BOTTOM OF THE CROSS AND THE STEMS
OF THE FLOWERS. IT IS CARRIED AROUND THE ALTAR BY THE PRIEST
BEFORE THE FIRST MASS OF THE DAY. THEN IT IS PLACED ON A
PILLOW ON THE TETRAPOD, A SMALL TABLE IN THE FRONT CENTER OF
THE CHURCH. THE CROSS AND THE FLORAL ARRANGEMENT UNDER IT
REMAIN THERE FOR A WEEK FOR VENERATION BY THE FAITHFUL. THE
CROSS IS KISSED UPON ENTERING AND EXITING THE CHURCH. AFTER
EACH SERVICE THE CONGREGATION SINGS THREE TIMES THE PHRASE
O LORD, WE ADORE THY CROSS AND GLORIFY THY HOLY RESURRECTION.
AFTER EACH SINGING, A PROFOUND BOW IS MADE BY THE PEOPLE.
MANY OF OUR OLDER WOMEN CONSIDER THE DEAD FLOWERS TO BE A
SACRAMENTAL AND ASK TO TAKE THEM HOME WHEN THE ARRANGEMENT
IS TAKEN APART. SOME KEEP THEM ON DRESSERS, IN PRAYER BOOKS,
AND IN THEIR BIBLES.

Submitter comment: THE UKRAINIANS ALSO VENERATE THE CROSS IN A SIMILAR MANNER
ON THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

Keyword(s): FLOWERS

Subject headings: 663 Lent
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- September 14
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Week Day Hour
BELIEF -- Plant
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 00001950S

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MAKING THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

THIS IS USED IN DRIVING OFF THE DEVIL, ACCORDING TO
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.22
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 03-10-1971

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BLESSING YOURSELF OR MAKING SOME FORM OF THE CROSS
WHEN YOU PASS A CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SCRANTON

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 00001950S LATE

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THE POLISH USUALLY HAVE A CRUCIFIX AT THE DOOR AND
MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS BEFORE LEAVING HOME.

Submitter comment: PROBABLY UNIVERSAL.

Where learned: HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Custom
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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AS A SIGN OF RESPECT MEN TIP THEIR HATS WHENEVER THEY
PASS A CHURCH.

Submitter comment: THIS CUSTOM IS NOT SO PREVALENT AMONG YOUNGER CATHOLICS
BUT IT WAS AND IS STILL PRACTICED AMONG THE OLDER MEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Head
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Respect
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A BOW TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

IN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCHES TODAY, SOME PEOPLE
STILL PRACTICE AN OLD CUSTOM OF GETTING DOWN ON ALL
FOURS AND TOUCHING THE FLOOR WITH THEIR BROWS,
THUS SIGNIFYING A BOW TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT.

Where learned: HAMTRAMCK ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
686 Fourths / Quarters
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
SPEECH -- Body parts involved S602.3
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IT WAS CUSTOMARY TO COVER HANDS WITH THE COMMUNION RAIL
CLOTH DURING THE RECEPTION OF THE SACRAMENT UNTIL
ABOUT 1964.

Data entry tech comment: IS THIS PECULIAR TO MICHIGAN? NOT DONE IN TOLEDO, OHIO

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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WHENEVER PASSING A CHURCH, NOD YOUR HEAD OR TIP YOUR HAT.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Head
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 09-24-1969

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IT IS A CUSTOM TO MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS AS YOU PASS
A CHURCH. THIS IS DONE TO SHOW HONOR FOR GOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 03-19-1970

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IT'S AN OLD CUSTOM OF THE GREEK CATHOLICS TO MAKE THE
SIGN OF THE CROSS WHEN ENTERING OR LEAVING THE HOUSE. IT
IS TO MAKE SURE GOD IS WITH YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; STUDENT UNION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 02-08-1971

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IN BELGIUM, BOY SCOUTS WOULD WALK TO RECEIVE HOLY
COMMUNION IN CHURCH WITH THEIR ARMS CROSSED. THIS
WAS A DEFINITE WAY TO INDICATE THAT YOU WERE ONE OF
THIS GROUP. THIS TRADITION IS STILL IN EFFECT.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; BELGIUM ; PITTSBURGH

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious

Date learned: 11-01-1970

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WHENEVER YOU HEAR AN AMBULANCE, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS MAKE
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS AS A LITTLE PRAYER FOR WHATEVER
HAS HAPPENED.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): SIREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Custom
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Religious
SPEECH -- To Be Heard

Date learned: 03-12-1970

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WHENEVER SOME CATHOLICS DRIVE BY A CATHOLIC CHURCH, THEY
WILL TIP THEIR HAT TO SHOW REVERENCE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT TOLD ME THAT HIS FATHER ALSO TIPPED HIS HAT.
I ACTUALLY HAVE SEEN THE INFORMANT (MY FATHER) DO THIS
OUT OF HABIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GRAND RAPIDS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Head
SPEECH -- Religious

View just this record

showing 15 items

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