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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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It was the custom of young Cuban boys who were trying
to prove their manhood to dive into the waters of Havana
Harbor,near the old prison, and ride the sharks. It was
said that the sharks frequented the harbor because political
prisoners were placed in an underwater dungeon to be eaten
by the sharks.

Submitter comment: This need to confront death and danger in order to establish
"machismo" is also seen in such activities as bullfighting.
This story was told to Carmen by her father, Gustavo Sebastian
Albore', who was very proud that he had been brave enough to
ride the sharks. Gustavo was proud also of his Castillian
Spanish parents, since in his mind, to be "Cuban"
meant to be black. He always, therefore, referred to himself
as "Castillian" whenever someone asked him his nationality.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; NEW ROCHELLE

Keyword(s): Courage, test, Hispanic, rite-of-passage

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity

Date learned: 00001930S

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"INCHY PINCHY"

This practical joke begins when one person convinces
another (usually a younger/naive) person that they are
going to be initiated into a special group. The "initiate"
is taken into a darkened room, with perhaps only a candle
for a light, and seated on the floor. Others come into the
room (quietly and reverentially) and seat themselves in
a circle, in which the "initiate" is included. (Everyone
but the person who is the target of the joke is a co-conspirator.)
After everyone is seated in a circle, the
leader (seated next to the victim) announces that the
ceremony is about to begin. He instructs the "initiate"
to copy his motions exactly, doing to his neighbor what
is done to him. The leader, then, reaches out and grabs
the victim's cheek and gently pulls on it, saying
solemnly, "Inchy Pinchy." This should be intoned slowly--
"In...chy Pin...chy." The victim pulls the cheek of
the person next to him and does likewise, and the motion is
passed around the circle. Again the leader reaches out
and grabs another part of the victim's face, perhaps the
forehead or nose, and says "Inchy Pinchy." Again the
motion is passed around the circle. This continues as
many times as the leader wants. When the "ritual" is
over, the victim is instructed to look in the mirror to
verify how the ceremony has transformed him. When he
does so, he realizes that each time the leader touched
his face, that he had been smeared with lipstick (or any
other substance that can be concealed in the hand). At the
moment of realization everyone shouts "INCHY PINCHY!"

Submitter comment: This was a joke I learned at a slumber party when I was
in seventh grade. My older brother and I successfully
played it on my younger brother, Greg, who reminded me
of it when I asked for any possible folklore items,
especially children's songs/games. A copy of a story he
wrote about this experience has been submitted as
supplementary material.

Where learned: OHIO ; COLUMBUS

Keyword(s): Humor, trick, mock rite-of-passage

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 00001965CA

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Custom/Belief

Irregular Festival:

It is a custom in my family to have a big family gathering, celebration, reunion, and party whenever someone in the fammily has made the Sacrament of Confirmation or 1st Communion. The recipient recieves gifts and/or money from every other member of the fmaily. It roughlyparallels the Bar Matzvah of the Jewish Religion.

Data entry tech comment:

motifs added by TRD

Where learned: NEW YORK ; Myself ; LeRoy

Keyword(s): Celebration ; CUSTOM ; Maturity ; PARTY ; RELIGION ; RELIGIOUS ; Rite-of-Passage

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity

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