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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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ITALIAN SUPERSTITION

IF A WOMAN FALLS WHEN SHE IS PREGNANT AND SHE HELPS HERSELF UP
WITH HER RIGHT HAND, SHE WILL HAVE A BOY; IF SHE HELPS HERSELF
UP WITH HER LEFT HAND, SHE WILL HAVE A GIRL.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER ITALIAN MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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NO-SPILL-SALT

IF YOU SPILL SALT YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK UNLESS YOU DO THIS,
TAKE A HAND FULL OF SALT AND THROW IT OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER.
THIS WILL REVERSE THE BAD LUCK AND GIVE YOU GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE LEARNED THIS FOLKLORE FROM HER CHILDHOOD DAYS OF HER HOME TOWN.
THIS SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF IS SYMPATHETIC MAGIC BECAUSE THERE IS A
PRIMITIVE CONNECTION BETWEEN SPILLING AND THE THROWING THE SALT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION ; RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions P883.17

Date learned: 00001930'S

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IF YOUR LEFT FOOT ITCHES YOU'LL SOON GO ON A SAD TRIP.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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IF YOUR RIGHT HAND ITCHES YOU WILL SOON SHAKE HANDS WITH A STRANGER.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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IF YOUR LEFT EYE JUMPS IT MEANS YOU WILL BE MAD BEFORE THE DAY IS
OVER.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): ANGER ; RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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DETERMINING SEX

WHEN A WOMAN IS PREGNANT YOU HAVE HER SIT ON THE FLOOR AND WHATEVER
HAND SHE LEANS ON WILL DETERMINE THE SEX OF THE CHILD. RIGHT HAND IS
A BOY AND LEFT HAND IS A GIRL.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER AND INFORMANT DOES NOT HOLD
IT TO BE TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT-HANDEDNESS SEXISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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TWELVE ANGELS

GREEN GRASS IS GROWING,
BY THE CHURCH DOORSTEP.
YOU GAVE YOUR HAND TO ( GROOM'S NAME ),
YOU GAVE YOUR HAND TO ( GROOM'S NAME ),
BY THE MAIN ALTAR.
YOU GAVE HIM YOUR RIGHT HAND,
THE PRIEST BLESSED YOUR WEDDING BAND.
YOUR EYES FILLED WITH TEARS,
YOUR EYES FILLED WITH TEARS,
BY THIS SMILING MAN.
TWELVE PETAL WHITE ROSES,
ON A LITTLE TREE.
TWELVE ANGELS HAD COME,
TWELVE ANGELS HAD COME,
TO SERVE YOU WILLINGLY.
FIRST ANGEL IS CARRYING,
A FLAMING CANDLE LIGHT.
SECOND ANGEL CARRIES,
SECOND ANGEL CARRIES,
A BRIDAL BOUQUET ALL WHITE.
THIRD ANGEL IS CARRYING,
A BEAUTIFUL CHAPLET
FOURTH ANGEL IS CARRYING,
FOURTH ANGEL IS CARRYING,
A GOLDEN WEDDING BAND.
FIFTH ANGEL IS CARRYING,
FROM GOD YOUR WEDDING VOWS.
SIXTH ANGEL IS CARRYING,
SIXTH ANGEL IS CARRYING,
ALL BLESSINGS FROM ABOVE.
THE NEXT SIX ANGELS,
A CROWN OF MYRTLE GREEN,
THEY PLACE UPON YOUR HEAD
THEY PLACE UPON YOUR HEAD.
TODAY TO MAKE YOU QUEEN.
O MY DEAR CHAPLET
ALL OF MYRTLE GREEN.
I AM SORRY,
TO PART WITH THEE,
THEN WITH MY FAMILY.
MY DEAR MOTHER,
I AM LEAVING YOU TODAY.
TO LIVE WITH ( GROOM'S NAME ),
TO LIVE WITH ( GROOM'S NAME ),
FOR HE AND I ARE WED.

Submitter comment: THIS SONG IS A POLISH TRADITION, USUALLY STILL SUNG IN POLISH AT
WEDDINGS. THE GUESTS GATHER IN A CIRCLE AROUND THE BRIDE AND
GROOM, AS THE BRIDE REMOVES HER VEIL. THIS SIGNIFIES THAT NOW SHE
BELONGS TO HIM. SHE PASSES HER VEIL FIRST TO THE MAID OF HONOR,
AND THEN ON TO THE OTHER BRIDESMAIDS AS THEY DANCE, SO THEY TOO CAN
SHARE HER JOY

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

James Callow Keyword(s): CHAIN ; RIGHT HAND

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Marriage
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-12-1972

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MY BACK IS BREAKING, MY GIRDLE'S TOO TIGHT, MY HIPS ARE SHAKING
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT. LEFT, RIGHT...

Submitter comment: THIS IS USE TO TEACH CHILDREN THEIR LEFT FROM THEIR RIGHT SIDES.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION ; POSITION--LEFT AND RIGHT

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

Date learned: 08-04-1972

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WAITRESS BELIEF ABOUT SILVERWARE

NEVER PUT SILVERWARE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF A CUSTOMER
OR YOU WON'T GET A TIP.

Submitter comment: THIS HAS A LOT TO DO WITH A RIGHTHANDED CUSTOMER
HAVING TO REACH OVER FOR HIS SILVERWARE.

Where learned: HOME ; SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION ; RIGHTHANDEDNESS ; TIPPING

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

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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PROVERBIAL PHRASE

ON THE BEAM

Data entry tech comment: ORIGINAL 5 X 8 CARD INDICATES THAT THE INFORMATION WAS RECEIVED IN
A LETTER.

Where learned: UNKNOWN

James Callow Keyword(s): ON TARGET OR THE RIGHT TRACK

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 10-23-1969

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CUSTOM

ON CANDLEMAS DAY, MOTHERS SINGE A SMALL PIECE OF THEIR CHILDREN'S
HAIR WITH THE CANDLE THAT WAS BLESSED IN CHURCH THAT DAY TO
PREVENT THEM FROM BEING SCARED OF STORMS AND LIGHTNING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CURE FOR FRIGHT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 2 Candlemas Groundhog Day
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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BELIEF CURE

IF A CHILD IS SCARED OF AN ANIMAL, ANY PARTICULAR ANIMAL, YOU ARE TO
GET SOME HAIR FROM THAT ANIMAL AND BURN IT.
WHILE THE HAIR FROM THE ANIMAL IS BURNING, THE CHILD IS
SUPPOSED TO INHALE THE SMOKE FROM THE FIRE. IF HE OR SHE DOES THIS
THEY WILL BE CURED OF BEING SCARED OF THE ANIMAL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS

Keyword(s): FRIGHT ; FUMAGATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Remedy

Date learned: 11-12-1968

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Entry filtered.

POLISH JOKE

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE POLACK WHO HAD B.O. ONLY ON ONE SIDE?
HE DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO BUY ANY LEFT GUARD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

James Callow Keyword(s): ALLUSION TO DEODERANT "RIGHT GUARD" ; B.O.: SLANG FOR OFFENSIVE BODY ODOR ; LEFT GUARD: AN ANTIPERSPIRANT FOR BODY ODOR

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Poli

Date learned: 02-00-1980

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PALM SUPERSTITION

IF YUOR RIGHT PALM ICHES YOU WILL COME INTO SOME MONEY, IF YOUR LEFT
PALM ICHES PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GARDEN CITY

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT, RIGHT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: CA00001980

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EGYPTIAN ENGAGEMENT CUSTOM

THE BRIDE TO BE WEARS BOTH HER ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING RING ON HER
RIGHT FINGER, AND THEN AT THE WEDDING CEREMONY BOTH RINGS ARE PUT ON
HER LEFT FINGER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT, RIGHT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: CA00001980

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UNDER EACH CLOUD IS A SILVER LINING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CELESTIAL BRIGHTNESS ; UNDISCLOSED MERIT

James Callow Keyword(s): COMPENSATION ; CONTRAST

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 11-19-1968

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IF YOUR RIGHT HAND ITCHES YOU WILL RECEIVE SOME MONEY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of quality Monetary systemMoneyWealth
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

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IF YOUR LEFT HAND ITCHES YOU WILL RECEIVE A LETTER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: 00001928CA

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD, MY FATHER USED TO TELL ME THAT I SHOULD
ALWAYS BE HONEST, DO GOOD THINGS, AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE. HE
SAID THAT GOD KNEW EVERYTHING WE DID. HE SAID THERE WAS A LITTLE
ANGEL SITTING ON EACH OF OUR SHOULDERS AND THAT EVERY TIME WE DID
SOMETHING GOOD, THE ANGEL ON THE RIGHT SHOULDER WOULD WRITE IT
DOWN. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE DID SOMETHING BAD, THE ANGEL ON THE
LEFT SHOULDER WOULD RECORD IT. HE SAID THAT WHEN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
CAME, GOD WOULD CHECK TO SEE WHICH LIST WAS LONGER. IT WASN'T
ENOUGH TO JUST TRY NOT TO BE BAD BECAUSE THE ANGEL ON THE RIGHT
SHOULDER ONLY WROTE DOWN GOOD DEEDS--NOT NO DEEDS AT ALL.

Submitter comment: MY FATHER WAS RAISED IN LEBANON. HE CAME TO THE UNITED STATES
IN 1929 WHEN HE WAS 20 YEARS OLD AND LIVED HERE UNTIL HIS DEATH
IN 1982.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT ; RIGHT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Angel
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of quantity or weight

Date learned: 00001950S

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STEPPING INTO "SHIT" BRINGS GOOD LUCK, SPECIALLY IF IT IS THE
LEFT FOOT.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT RIGHT ; POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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