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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CHRIST CAME BACK TO EARTH AND NOBODY RECOGNIZED HIM.
HE WAS WALKING AROUND AND HAPPENED TO STROLL INTO A
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE AND WAS TALKING TO THE RABBI. THE
RABBI LOOKED PECULIARILY AT HIM AND COMPLAINING OF
POOR EYESIGHT ASKED HIM TO MOVE BACK A FEW STEPS.
CHRIST DID. NOW AT THE BACK OF THE CHURCH THERE WAS A
HUGE CROSS (ED. NOTE. WHAT A CROSS WAS DOING IN A
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE I DON'T KNOW. WHEN I QUESTIONED THE
TELLER HE SAID IT WAS JUST THE WAY THE JOKE WAS TOLD.)
AND WHEN THE RABBI HAD BACKED CHRIST TO IT, HE QUICKLY
PULLED OUT A HAMMER AND NAILS AND NAILED CHRIST TO THE
CROSS, SAYING "GOT YOU AGAIN, AND THIS TIME YOU WON'T
GET AWAY."

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; RODNEY

Keyword(s): ANTISEMITISM

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote

Date learned: 03-25-1965

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CANADIAN SUPERSTITION

PEOPLE IN ALASKA AND CANADA WANT TO BE BURIED WITH
THEIR HEAD TO THE NORTH. THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE
MAGNETIC REVERSAL IF THEY WERE OTHERWISE BURIED.

Where learned: OHIO ; ALASKA ; TOLEDO ; CANADA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 09-07-1965

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ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE,
I KISSED A LAMP POST AND THOUGHT IT WAS YOU.

Where learned: CANADA ; NOW MARRIED ; LIVING IN

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Roses are red and other such associations

Date learned: 00-00-1959

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AFTER A DEATH IN THE FAMILY ALL THE UNMARRIED GIRLS IN THE
FAMILY WOULD WEAR THEIR HAIR DOWN TO SYMBOLIZE THE
ATTENDANCE OF THE DECEASED AT THEIR WEDDING. (THE CUSTOM
WAS FOR BRIDES TO WEAR THEIR HAIR LONG AND UNPLAITED
UNDER THEIR VEILS).

Submitter comment: INFORMANT REMEMBERS THAT SHE AND HER SISTERS DID THIS
AFTER HER FATHER'S DEATH EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS ONLY ABOUT
EIGHT YEARS OLD AT THE TIME. SHE BELIEVES THAT THIS WAS
A POLISH CUSTOM BROUGHT TO MANITOBA, CANADA BY POLISH
SETTLERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CANADA ; DETROIT ; MANITOBA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 12-18-1963

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REMEDY FOR GETTING RID OF WARTS.

TAKE A MILKWEED PLANT AND CUT IT OPEN AT THE STEM AND PUT THE JUICE
THAT COMES OUT ON THE WARTS AND THEY SHOULD DISAPPEAR WITHIN DAYS.

Submitter comment: THIS REMEDY WAS TOLD TO ME BECAUSE I HAD WARTS ON MY KNEE AND THERE
WAS MILKWEED AROUND ME. I USED IT BUT IT DIDN'T WORK.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant

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IF AN IRISHMAN IS COMING TO AMERICA ON THE 17TH
OF ANY MONTH AND IS ON THE SEA, HE IS SUPPOSED TO
HAVE FORTUNE AND FAME IN AMERICA.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HIS FATHER WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER.

Data entry tech comment: RELATED TO ST. PATRICKS'S DAY--MARCH 17?

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; TOP HAT SUPPER CLUB ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 17
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 17
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- March 17
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 12101963 ASSUMED

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MUSIC GESTURE

IN MUSIC WHEN THE MAESTRO TAKES ONE HAND (OPPOSITE THE
HAND HOLDING THE BATON) WITH PALM UP AND MOVES THE
HAND IN AN UPWARD MOTION, HE IS SIGNALING THE
ORCHESTRA FOR MORE VOLUME.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS A CONDUCTOR OF THE WINDSOR SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA. HE HAS USED THIS GESTURE REPEATEDLY
IN CONCERT PERFORMANCES.

Where learned: CANADA ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of quantity or weight
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 11-10-1971

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IN CANADA, WHEN A FUNERAL PASSES BY, ALL THE CARS IN
THE OPPOSING LANE COMPLETELY STOP OUT OF COURTESY
AND RESPECT FOR THE DEAD, AND BOW THEIR HEADS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CANADA ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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FRENCH CANADIAN CUSTOM

WHEN THERE IS A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, ALL CLOTHES
INCLUDING UNDER CLOTHES ARE DYEDBLACK AND ARE WORN FOR
A PERIOD OF A MONTH, EXCLUDING THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER,
WHO WEARS IT FOR A PERIOD OF A YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CANADA ; HAZEL PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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AFTER A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, ALL THE CLOCKS IN THE HOME
WERE STOPPED UNTIL AFTER THE FUNERAL. SYMBOLIZED THE
STOPPING OF TIME FOR THE DECEASED.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT REMEMBERS THIS CUSTOM AS PART OF HER OWN
FATHER'S FUNERAL IN BAUSEJOUR, MANITOBA, CANADA ABOUT
1902. SHE BELIEVES THE CUSTOM WAS PROBABLY BROUGHT TO
CANADA BY POLISH SETTLERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CANADA ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 12-18-1963

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IN CANADA, BRIDAL SHOWERS ARE NOT GIVEN UNTIL AFTER
THE WEDDING AND ARE SOMETIMES HELD IN THE CHURCH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CANADA ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Day after wedding

Date learned: 09-00-1969

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PROVERB -- HUNGARIAN

A MAN SHOULD PAY ALL HIS DEBTS IN THE CURRENT YEAR,
OTHERWISE HE WILL ALWAYS OWE IN THE NEW YEAR.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

James Callow Keyword(s): OBSERVATION

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

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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IF A DATE FROM THE CALENDAR IS CROSSED OFF BEFORE
THAT DAY IS OVER, IT WILL BRING YOU BAD LUCK
FOR THE REST OF THAT DAY.

Submitter comment: HEARD THIS FROM A FRIEND WHILE ATTENDING SCHOOL
IN WINDSOR.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

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SPRING PLANTING

NEVER PLANT TOMATO PLANTS UNTIL AFTER THE FREEZING
SAINTS' DAYS:
ST. PONGRACY--MAY 12.
ST. SERVATS--MAY 13.
ST. BONIFACE--MAY 14.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- May 12
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- May 13
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- May 14
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting F663.9

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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WISHES

WHENEVER THE FRENCH VISIT A CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME,
THEY MAKE THREE WISHES WHICH THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP
A SECRET. THEY BELIEVE THE WISHES WILL ONLY COME TRUE
IF THEY ARE KEPT A SECRET.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Church
BELIEF -- Prayer

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FRENCH NEW YEAR'S CUSTOM

ON THE EVE OF NEW YEAR'S, AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE
CHILDREN KNEEL BEFORE THEIR PARENTS AND ASK TO BE
FORGIVEN ANY WRONGS THEY HAVE COMMITTED DURING THE YEAR.
THEN THEY ASK FOR THEIR PARENT'S BLESSING. THE PARENTS
PLACED THEIR HANDS ON EACH CHILD'S HEAD TO BLESS THEM.
THE CHILD ROSE AND KISSED THE PARENTS.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Prayer
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1935

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THE DISAPPEARING ACT

IN ENGLAND, MANY YEARS AGO, A CHURCH SOCIAL WAS TAKING PLACE
AND EVERYONE WAS INVOLVED IN PLAYING GAMES. MOST OF THE MEN WERE
PLAYING RUGBY ON A HUGE FIELD. ONE MAN KICKED THE BALL INTO
A FAR CORNER OF THE FIELD AND WENT AFTER IT. HE STARTED TO RUN
AFTER THE BALL AND THAT IS THE LAST ANYONE SAW OF HIM. PEOPLE
THOUGHT THAT HE MIGHT HAVE FALLEN INTO A DITCH OR A HOLE BUT THEY
WENT TO LOOK FOR HIM AND COULD FIND NOTHING AND TO THIS DAY THEY
STILL COULD NEVER FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.

Submitter comment: MRS. BACON SAID THAT HER MOTHER AND SISTER TOLD HER THIS
STORY IN ENGLAND ABOUT THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

James Callow Keyword(s): MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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PULLING YOUR LEGS

ONE DAY, MY FRIEND AND MYSELF WERE SUPPOSE(D) TO MEET
DOWNTOWN AT THE SHOW. AFTER I WAITED FOR QUITE SOME
TIME, I FIGURED SHE WASN'T COMING, SO I DECIDED TO TAKE
A BUS HOME. BY THIS TIME, IT WAS GETTING DARK OUTSIDE.
AS I GOT OFF THE BUS, I NOTICED ANOTHER MAN GOT OFF ALSO.
IT SOON BECAME EVIDENT THAT HE WAS FOLLOWING ME AND I
DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. THERE JUST HAPPENED TO BE A
STORE IN THE MIDDLE OF MY STREET, SO I DECIDED TO STOP
IN THERE AND PERHAPS LOSE HIM. I WAITED A WHILE IN THE
STORE, UNTIL I THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE ENOUGH TO LEAVE.
I STARTED WALKING AGAIN AND SURE ENOUGH THE SAME PERSON
WAS FOLLOWING ME. IT WAS JUST A FEW MORE HOUSES UNTIL
I WOULD COME TO MINE, SO I DECIDED TO START RUNNING, AND
SURE ENOUGH, THE MAN IN BACK OF ME STARTED RUNNING
ALSO. I KNEW THAT MY SIDE DOOR OF MY HOUSE WAS OPEN,
SO I DECIDED TO RUN FOR IT. I RAN, THE MAN WAS RIGHT
BEHIND ME. I HURRIEDLY OPENED THE DOOR AND STARTED
RUNNING UP THE STAIRS, BUT SUDDENLY I SLIPPED AND THE
MAN STARTED PULLING MY LEGS!!! JUST LIKE I'M PULLING
YOURS.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote

Date learned: 09-23-1967

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HUNGARIAN CUSTOM

ON ST. NICHOLAS DAY A FELLOW CALLED "KRUMPUS" WOULD
COME THROUGH THE TOWN. HE WORE A LONG BELT FASHIONED
FROM CHAIN. HE CARRIED A WOODEN SWITCH AND A BAG OF
WALNUTS.
KRUMPUS WOULD WALK THROUGH THE TOWN AND STOP AT EACH
HOUSE. IF WELL-BEHAVED CHILDREN LIVED IN THE HOUSE,
HE WOULD THROW WALNUTS IN THE DOOR. IF BAD CHILDREN
LIVED IN THE HOUSE, HE WOULD STAND IN THE DOORWAY,
RATTLE HIS CHAIN AND SHAKE HIS SWITCH AT THEM.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Keyword(s): Celebrate ; CUSTOM ; holiday ; HUNGARIAN ; Nicholas ; Saint ; St. Nick ; tradition

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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Ethnic: Native American

The Pipe:

The place to start in liturgical adaptation is to use the Sacred Pipe as a prayer instrument. This will probably in time lead to the Pipe as an official sacramental like holy water. The Pipe is a wonderful symbol of Christ because it is the instrument of the mediator in the Sioux Religion just as the Sacred Humanity is the instrument of Christ the Mediator in our Christian Religion. Christ fulfills the Pipe rather than destroys it since He does in a more perfect way what the person praying with the Pipe does in an imperfect way. The Pipe, then, is the great Sioux foreshadowing of Christ in HIs Priestly Office. A person who understands and appreciates the Sacred Pipe will be disposed and not hindered from accepting Christ. I have found this true from experience. The Pipe must be purified, even exorcised if necessary like Holy Water and "baptized." When this is done, it is no longer the same Pipe which the early missionaries condemned. Once a person, whether Indian or non-Indian had this vision, he can no longer pray with the Pipe in exactly the same way as before. This is most important to remember: we are no longer talking about the same exact Pipe as the early missionaries because they did not see it in this way.

The Sacred Pipe is the religious symbol which is at the center of every traditional religious ceremony which all Indians of the Plains performed. It would be well to read one book, The Sacred Pipe, by Joseph E. Brown, Oklahoma Press (republished this year). In this account of Nicholas Black Elk, one of the great Catholic catechists on the Pine Ridge Reservation, we see all that the Pipe might stand for. If we want to grasp and summarize all the true cultural religious values of the Sioux Religion, then we must make our approach to adaptation beginning with the Sacred Pipe. If someone would build a Gothic Church, sing (a) Gregorian chant and wear Roman vestaments and at the same time reject the Sacred Humanity of Christ, this would be faulty acceptance of the Catholic Religion. The same is literally true of adapting the externals of the Sioux Religion such as language, music, beadwork, etc. without the Pipe. Whatever is said of the Sioux Religion is true of all the Plains Indians.

By adapting the Pipe we are getting at the natural starting point in their own minds. When you have taken the Pipe into the Catholic Church, you have taken in the essential good of their religion. Does this mean that we need to take in all their religious values without careful examination? No, some of these must be purified or even rejected. The advantage of starting with the Pipe as a prayer instrument (which it always was in their tradition) is that it creates a frequent occasion for dialog with the Indian people and for becoming involved in conversations which were closed to one before. It is most important to talk to the Indian people in an atmosphere of sympathetic acceptance to learn what the Pipe really means to them.

There will be good Catholic Indians who will not want to accept the Pipe because it has been condemned by some Fathers. It is important here to give time for new ideas to seep in. It took three or four months for one of my good Catholic full bloods to accept the use of the Pipe by the priest because of past condemnation. But when the idea finally got across that we are "baptizing" the Pipe, he said with great joy that he "wanted to be the godfather." It wasn't that he did not love the Pipe, but rather he rejected whatever the Fathers told him was bad regardless of how dear it was to him. A person could have taken his first reaction to the Pipe during those first several months as an argument against using the Pipe. But as it turned out, just the opposite is true. In fact, the injustice on our part for denying him the use of his own religious culture which he valued becomes evident. That is why the only way we can continue to discuss liturgical adaptation of Indians culture and make decisions concerning it, is to actually use the Pipe, begin a dialog and give sufficient time for honest reactions to become known.

One great advantage to using the Pipe for many communities is that it does not necessarily involve the Lakota language or Indian language of any Plains Tribe. If a community is almost entirely Indian speaking, using the language is good. But if the community is split, then the Indian language drives the full blood and the mixed bloods into the disunity of the ghettos. I don't think it is advisable to have a Mass just for Indian speaking people and one for non-Indian speaking people. This will never create the Christian Community. On the other hand, the Pipe is a symbol and a symbol can mean different people. [sic]  To many full bloods it still has a very literal appeal because they are still living in some way in the traditional world. These people have often been leading double lives. There are probably more Indians going through the sweat lodge and making a fast or vision quest on top of the hill than most people realize.

However, to the non-Indian speaking mixed blood the Pipe should be a symbol of his Indian identity and help enable him to accept his Indian identity with pride. Fr. Bryde's thesis is that there is a social pathology involved in today's Indian Culture and the place to start for everyone, full and mixed blood alike, is to build a pride in their Indian identity. This is what the use of the Pipe in the liturgy can do as well as to unite a fragmented community. In comparison to the above approach, the singing of a white man's son[g]s translated to the Indian was a useful but very weak approach to adaptation. It served its purpose in its own time.

In conclusion, the starting point is to use the Pipe as a prayer instrument and be prepared for open dialog with the Indian People. This use is in complete conformity with our Catholic Faith and should requite [sic] the permission of a local superior only. Eventually, it may become an official sacramental requiring the permission of the Bishop. Thus we are putting the Pipe in a very precise place that we can easily defend and explain so that we can have confidence that we know what we are doing. This is a small beginning since we can hardly do less. If we never go any further than this, we still have enriched the Catholic Church with a wonderful cultural gift and we have allowed the Indian people to accept their Indian identity at least to some extent when they become Catholic. However, when this step is taken, other developments will appear. I use the Pipe as a prayer instrument because I pray with more meaning and greater sincerity. The prayers and rituals will follow.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; BELIEF ; CATHOLICISM ; Colonialism ; Essay ; ETHNIC ; Native American ; RELIGION ; RELIGIOUS ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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