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'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
AND ALL THROUGH THE TOWN
ST. JOSEPH WAS SEARCHING,
WALKING UP ROADS AND DOWN.
OUR LADY WAS WAITING
SO MEEK AND SO MILD,
WHILE JOSEPH WAS SEEKING
A PLACE FOR THE CHILD.
THE CHILDREN WERE NESTLED,
EACH SNUG IN HIS BED;
AND THE GROWNUPS WOULDN'T BOTHER,
"THERE'S NO ROOM," THEY SAID.
WHEN EVEN THE INNKEEPER SENT THEM AWAY
AND JOSEPH WAS WONDERING WHERE THEY WOULD STAY,
HE THOUGHT OF THE CAVE IN THE SIDE OF THE HILL.
"LET'S GO THERE," SAID MARY, "IT'S SILENT AND STILL."
THE MOON ON THE BREAST
OF THE NEW FALLEN SNOW
MADE A PATHWAY OF LIGHT
FOR THEIR TIRED FEET TO GO.
AND IN THE CAVE
IN A CRADLE OF HAY
THE SAVIOR WAS BORN
ON THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS DAY!
THE FATHER WAS WATCHING
IN HEAVEN ABOVE,
AND SENT FOR HIS ANGELS,
HIS COURTIERS OF LOVE.
MORE RAPID THAN EAGLES,
GOD'S BRIGHT ANGELS CAME,
REJOICING AND EAGER,
AS EACH HEARD HIS NAME.
"COME POWERS, COME CHERUBS,
COME VIRTUES AND RAPHAEL;
COME THRONES AND DOMINIONS,
COME MICHAEL AND GABRIEL."
"NOW FLY TO THE EARTH
WHERE MY POOR PEOPLE LIVE,
ANNOUNCE THE GLAD TIDINGS
MY SON COMES TO GIVE!"
THE SHEPHERDS WERE WATCHING
THEIR FLOCKS ON THIS NIGHT;
AND SAW IN THE HEAVENS
AN UNEARTHLY LIGHT.
THE ANGELS ASSURED THEM
THEY'D NOTHING TO FEAR,
"IT'S CHRISTMAS," THEY SAID,
"THE SAVIOR IS HERE."
THEY HASTENED TO FIND HIM,
AND STOOD AT THE DOOR,
UNTIL MARY INVITED THEM IN
TO ADORE.
HE WAS SWADDLED IN BANDS
FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS FEET,
AND NEVER DID SHEPHERDS
SEE A BABY SO SWEET.
HE SPOKE NOT A WORD,
BUT THE SHEPHERDS ALL KNEW
HE WAS TELLING THEM SECRETS,
AND BLESSING THEM, TOO.
THEN SOFTLY THEY LEFT HIM,
THE BABE IN THE HAY,
AND REJOICED WITH GREAT JOY,
ON THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS DAY.
MARY HEARD THEM EXCLAIM
AS THEY WALKED UP THE HILL,
"GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST;
PEACE TO MEN OF GOOD WILL."

Submitter comment: SISTER BANKERT SAID THAT IT WAS A CUSTOM FOR MANY YEARS,
FOR THE SISTERS TO MAKE UP PICTURE BOOKS OF THIS POEM FOR
NIECES AND NEWPHEWS. SISTER GAVE ME THIS COPY IN 1953.

Data entry tech comment: VARIATION OF "THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS"

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): METER: ANAPESTIC ; PIOUS, THIRD PERSON NARRATIVE ; RELIGION CHRISTMAS NATIVITY ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABCB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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PROVERB

CRY ON FRIDAY, LAUGH ON SUNDAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CONTRAST ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): ELLIPSIS ; I SUPPOSE THIS HAS CHRISTIAN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 11-29-1970

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CHURCH CUSTOM

THIS IS A GERMAN CATHOLIC FEAST WHICH IS CELEBRATED IN HONOR OF THE
FOUNDING OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST. IT TAKES PLACE ON THURSDAY EXACTLY
FOUR WEEKS AFTER ASCENSION THURSDAY. IT BEGINS BY CELEBRATING MASS
IN CHURCH. THEN THE HOLY EUCHARIST IS HONORED IN A PROCESSION WHICH
LEAVES FROM THE CHURCH AND GOES TO THE CHURCH GROUNDS. ON THE
GROUNDS ARE SET UP THREE ALTARS. THE PROCESSION GOES TO ALL THREE
ALTARS AND PRAYERS ARE CHANTED AND SONGS ARE SUNG. THE
PROCESSION IS LED BY THE PRIEST AND ALTAR BOYS AND FOLLOWED BY
THE MOST RECENT FIRST COMMUNION CLASS, FOLLOWED BY THE OTHER CHURCH
GROUPS FOR MEN, WOMEN OR CHILDREN.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S MEMORIES OF HOMELAND GERMANY. INFORMANT NEVER MENTIONED NAME OF FEAST BUT IT SEEMS TO BE CORPUS
CHRISTI.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; BEAUTY SHOP

Keyword(s): CORPUS CHRISTI

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Pentecost

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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DUTCH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

THE DUTCH HAVE THE CUSTOM OF PASSING OUT THEIR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS ON
ST. NICHOLAS DAY SO THEY CAN CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN CHURCH WITHOUT
ANY INTERRUPTIONS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 03-30-1968

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HOLIDAY

THROUGHOUT CANADA, EVERY DECEMBER 26TH, THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS,
IS KNOWN AS BOXING DAY. NO ONE GOES TO WORK ON THIS DAY AND
EVERYBODY JUST SEEMS TO RECUPERRATE FROM THE CHRISTMAS EXCITEMENT.
THIS IS RECOGNIZED AS A HOLIDAY WHICH ORIGINATED FROM GREAT BRITAIN.

Where learned: DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; HOLIDAY WORK TABU

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 26 Boxing Day St. Stephen's Day

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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CHRISTMAS BELIEF

IF A MAN DOES NOT ENTER THE HOUSE FIRST ON CHRISTMAS
MORNING, THE HOUSE WILL BE PLAGUED WITH SICKNESS AND
BAD LUCK DURING THE COMING YEAR. (THE STRONGER THE
MAN THE BETTER THE LUCK).

Submitter comment: THIS CUSTOM IS PRACTICED BY POLISH AMERICANS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TOLD AT COLLECTORS HOME ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): FIRST ON CHRISTMAS

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.

Date learned: 10-25-1970

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KEEPING THE WOLVES AWAY

DURING CHRISTMAS THE LITTLE POLISH CHILDREN PUT PEAS ON THE WINDOWSILLS IN THE BELIEF THAT IT WOULD STOP THE WOLVES FROM EATING THEIR ANIMALS AT CHRISTMAS TIME.

 

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Beliefs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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BELIEF

SANDDOLLARS GOT THEIR DESIGN ON GOOD FRIDAY. IT IS SAID THAT THE
SANDDOLLAR WAS AFFECTED BY THE CRUCIFICTION, WHICH IS THE REASON
FOR THE FIVE HOLES IN ITS SURFACE, AND THE ETCHING OF AN EASTER
LILY AROUND THEM.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CRUCIFIXION ; SYMBOLS OF CHRIST'S WOUNDS

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
BELIEF -- Fish

Date learned: CA00001974

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AUTOGRAPH BOOK VERSE

WHATEVER SKIES MAY FIND ABOVE YOU,
WHEN XMAS COMES IT'S NICE TO KNOW
THAT THERE ARE FRIENDS WHO FONDLY LOVE YOU,
HOWEVER FAR AWAY YOU GO.

Where learned: KANSAS ; HUDSON

James Callow Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; FEMININE RHYME ; OBSERVATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

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IT WAS TRADITION AT MY HOUSE THAT WHEN THE SKY WAS
PINK IN THE MORNING OR EVENING THAT MRS. SANTA CLAUS
WAS BAKING COOKIES. I THOUGHT SO BECAUSE HER OVEN
WOULD LIGHT UP THE SKY.

Submitter comment: MY INFORMANT GOT VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE UPCOMING
HOLIDAY SEASON WHEN THIS SUBJECT CAME OUT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Sterling Heights

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Air Weather Fire

Date learned: 00001940S

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It is bad luck to name a boat after a boy instead of a girl.

Submitter comment: Elinor's dance instructor was concerned that a friend of hers
would regret that she had named her boat after her son.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Sterling Heights

Keyword(s): ship, christening, advice

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities
SPEECH -- Proper Name

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(sung to the tune of "Deck the Halls")
Deck the halls with gasoline.
Fa la la la la la la la la
Light a match and watch it gleam.
Fa la la la la la la la la
Watch the school burn down to ashes.
Fa la la la la la la la la
Aren't you glad we played with matches?
Fa la la la la la la la la

Submitter comment: This song is an obvious favorite with the grade school
children during the holidays, especially the boys.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Keyword(s): Parody, humor, arson, Christmas

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Good humor Jest
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children

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(sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells")
Jingle bells, Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg.
Batmobile lost a wheel,
And Joker got away. MM
Jingle bells, Batman smells,
Fifty miles away.
He blows his nose in cheerios,
And eats them right away!

Submitter comment: This is only one of many such "gross" songs that the
elementary school boys love to sing.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Keyword(s): Parody, Cartoon character, humor, Christmas

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Good humor Jest
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Children

Date learned: 00001987ca

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IN OBERAMERGAUE, GERMANY DURING CHRISTMAS TIME, THEY
HOLD A PASSION PLAY, DEPICTING THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD.

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

Keyword(s): BIRTH OF OUR LORD=CHRISTMAS. ; SOME CONTRADICTION HERE--PASSION PLAY=CRUCIFIXION.

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas Season See F645.2 for Advent Season.

Date learned: 12-00-1967

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IN OBERAMERGAUE, GERMANY DURING CHRISTMAS TIME, THEY
HOLD A PASSION PLAY, DEPICTING THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD.

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

Keyword(s): BIRTH OF OUR LORD=CHRISTMAS. ; SOME CONTRADICTION HERE--PASSION PLAY=CRUCIFIXION.

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas Season See F645.2 for Advent Season.

Date learned: 12-00-1967

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IN ITALY, SAINTS' DAYS ARE CELEBRATED FOR PEOPLE JUST
AS THEIR BIRTHDAYS ARE.

Submitter comment: FROM GRANDMOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHRISTENING ; NAME DAY ; PATRON SAINT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Movable Date

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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WHEN ST. NICHOLAS WAS A YOUNG BOY, HIS PARENTS DIED.
THEY WERE QUITE RICH AND HE INHERITED THIS WEALTH.
ALSO AT THIS TIME, A DOWRY WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER FOR A
GIRL TO MARRY. ONE NIGHT, WHILE HE WAS WALKING HOME,
HE HEARD A GIRL CRYING BECAUSE SHE HAD NO DOWRY.
THE FATHER OF THIS GIRL HAD TWO OTHER DAUGHTERS. A
FEW NIGHTS LATER, NICHOLAS LEFT A SACK OF GOLD ON THE
FAMILY'S DOORSTEP. HE DID THIS FOR TWO MORE NIGHTS.
THUS, THERE WAS A DOWRY FOR EACH OF THE DAUGHTERS.
ON THE THIRD NIGHT, THE GIRLS' FATHER WAS AWAKE AND
SAW NICHOLAS LEAVE THE SACKS. UPON QUESTIONING,
NICHOLAS SAID THAT HE HAD NO USE FOR THE GOLD. NICHOLAS
WANTED THE WHOLE THING KEPT A SECRET, BUT WORD SPREAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FATHER CHRISTMAS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: 03-14-1972

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CONVERSION OF A NON-CATHOLIC

TEXT KEYPUNCHED IN NOVEMBER, 1972--ALSO IN 5X8 FILE CABINET
JIM'S INFORMANT WAS SISTER GODFREY (SISTER OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
AT SAINT SYLVESTER'S IN PITTSBURGH). SR. GODFREY WAS JIM'S 4TH
GRADE TEACHER. THERE WAS A CATHOLIC HATER WHO MADE A LITTLE CATHOLIC
GIRL STEAL A HOST. HE WANTED TO NAIL THE HOST ON A TELEPHONE POLE
IN FRONT OF A CHURCH. WHEN HE ATTEMPTED TO CARRY IT OUT, THE
TELEPHONE POLE SPURTED BLOOD AND HE WAS CONVERTED.

Submitter comment: JIM'S INFORMANT WAS SISTER GODFREY IN HIS FOURTH GRADE CLASS
IN PITTSBURGH

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CHRISTIANITY ; EUCHARIST

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious

Date learned: 12-07-1972

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WHEN ST. NICHOLAS WAS A YOUNG BOY, HIS PARENTS DIED.
THEY WERE QUITE RICH AND HE INHERITED THIS WEALTH.
ALSO AT THIS TIME, A DOWRY WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER FOR A
GIRL TO MARRY. ONE NIGHT, WHILE HE WAS WALKING HOME,
HE HEARD A GIRL CRYING BECAUSE SHE HAD NO DOWRY.
THE FATHER OF THIS GIRL HAD TWO OTHER DAUGHTERS. A
FEW NIGHTS LATER, NICHOLAS LEFT A SACK OF GOLD ON THE
FAMILY'S DOORSTEP. HE DID THIS FOR TWO MORE NIGHTS.
THUS, THERE WAS A DOWRY FOR EACH OF THE DAUGHTERS.
ON THE THIRD NIGHT, THE GIRLS' FATHER WAS AWAKE AND
SAW NICHOLAS LEAVE THE SACKS. UPON QUESTIONING,
NICHOLAS SAID THAT HE HAD NO USE FOR THE GOLD. NICHOLAS
WANTED THE WHOLE THING KEPT A SECRET, BUT WORD SPREAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FATHER CHRISTMAS ANONYMOUS GIFTS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: 03-14-1972

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CONVERSION OF A NON-CATHOLIC

TEXT KEYPUNCHED IN NOVEMBER, 1972--ALSO IN 5X8 FILE CABINET
JIM'S INFORMANT WAS SISTER GODFREY (SISTER OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
AT SAINT SYLVESTER'S IN PITTSBURGH). SR. GODFREY WAS JIM'S 4TH
GRADE TEACHER. THERE WAS A CATHOLIC HATER WHO MADE A LITTLE CATHOLIC
GIRL STEAL A HOST. HE WANTED TO NAIL THE HOST ON A TELEPHONE POLE
IN FRONT OF A CHURCH. WHEN HE ATTEMPTED TO CARRY IT OUT, THE
TELEPHONE POLE SPURTED BLOOD AND HE WAS CONVERTED.

Submitter comment: JIM'S INFORMANT WAS SISTER GODFREY IN HIS FOURTH GRADE CLASS
IN PITTSBURGH

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): EUCHARIST CHRISTIANITY

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious

Date learned: 12-07-1972

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