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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER SUNDAY, POLISH VILLAGERS WOULD SPRINKLE EVERY ROOM IN THEIR
HOUSE WITH HOLY WATER--INCLUDING THE STABLE AND BARN--AS PROTECTION
FROM FIRE, LIGHTENING, OR OTHER MISFORTUNE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT STILL PRACTICES THIS CUSTOM IN HER HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

BEGINNING THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS UNTIL THE FEAST OF THREE KINGS,
CHILDREN IN POLAND WOULD GO FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE CAROLING. THE OLDER
"KOLEDNIKI" WOULD DRESS AS ANGELS, DEVILS, MULES, ETC., AND THEY
USUALLY RECEIVE DONATIONS OF MONEY. THE YOUNGER ONES WOULD
USUALLY RECEIVE EITHER A SCOOP OF WHEAT, RYE OR OATS WHICH THEY WOULD
TAKE TO THE STORE AND REDEEM FOR MONEY.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT'S CHILDREN IN THEIR YOUTH DID PRACTICE THIS CUSTOM
IN THIS COUNTRY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): MUMMING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39815
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39816
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 4
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 26 Boxing Day St. Stephen's Day
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 28 Holy Innocents
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F123
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Songs, caroling

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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BELIEF (CUSTOM)

IF YOU EAT BLESSED FOOD AFTER SUNDOWN YOU'LL COME DOWN WITH
NIGHT BLINDNESS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time Eating For menu, see N222.
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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MEDICINAL BELIEF

"RUMIANEK" OR CHAMOMILE TEA IS A REMEDY FOR DIGESTIVE DISTURBANCES.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USED THIS REMEDY ON HER FAMILY WHEN SHE FIRST CAME TO
THIS COUNTRY FROM POLAND. HOWEVER, NOW SHE DOESN'T USE IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): HERBAL CURE ; INDIGESTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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WEATHER PROVERB

POLISH: JAK NA BOZE NARODZENIE PO WODZIE, TO NA WIELKANOC PO LODZIE.
TRANSLATION: IF AT CHRISTMAS YOU'RE GOING OVER WATER, THEN ON EASTER
IT WILL BE OVER ICE.
(IF IT'S A WARM WINTER, PLAN ON A COLD SPRING.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Predictions

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BURIAL CUSTOM

IN THE EVENT OF DEATH, THE POLISH VILLAGERS PLACE DRIED HERBS
(BLESSED ON ASCENSION THURSDAY) UNDERNEATH THE LINEN LINING OF THE
CASKET. THIS SERVES AS A PILLOW UNDER THE DECEASED PERSON'S HEAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Ascension Day
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Pentecost

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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ASCENSION THURSDAY CUSTOM

ON ASCENSION THURSDAY, POLISH PEASANTS TAKE BOUQUETS MADE UP OF
WHEAT, OATS, RYE, APPLES AND PEARS ON A STICK, HERBS AND FLOWERS TO
CHURCH FOR BLESSING TO ASSURE FUTURE FERTILITY OF CROPS. CITY
DWELLERS, HOWEVER, TAKE BOUQUETS OF FLOWERS FROM THEIR GARDEN.
POLES DO NOT REFER TO THIS HOLY DAY AS ASCENSION THURSDAY
BUT AS THE DAY OF "OUR LADY OF HERBS" OR "MATKI BOSKI ZIELNEJ."

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT RELIGIOUSLY OBSERVES THIS CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Ascension Day

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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EASTER CUSTOM

THE POLES INCLUDE THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER AS A PART OF THEIR EASTER
OBSERVANCE. ON "DYNGUS" THE BOYS UNDER TWENTY-ONE SQUIRT GIRLS WITH
WATER UNTIL THEY RECEIVE A "PISANKA", WHICH IS AN ARTISTICALLY
DECORATED EASTER EGG.

Submitter comment:

THE INFORMANT TOLD ME THAT WHEN HER DAUGHTERS WERE GROWING UP IN
THIS COUNTRY SHE WOULD HAVE TO BRIBE THE BOYS WITH MONEY WHEN THEY
WOULD COME AROUND ON "DYNGUS" SO THEY WOULDN'T SQUIRT HER DAUGHTERS
WITH WATER.

Data entry tech comment:

DYNGUS MEANS "RANSOM" IN POLISH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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DUMMY DUMMY DO DO / DUMMY DUMMY DEE/ I CHOOSE ---- TO CHASE AFTER ME.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT DOES PRATICE IT NOW AT HULL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
IN LIVONIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT GRANDMOTHERS HOME

Keyword(s): CALL-RHYME

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

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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TOMMY, FREEDOM IS IN YOUR HOME.

Submitter comment: POLISH: WOLNOSC TOMKU
W SWOJEM DOMKU.
THE NAME TOMMY IS USED IN THIS PROVERB BECAUSE IT RHYMES
WITH HOME. TOMMY REPRESENTS ANYONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): POLISH EQUIVALENT OF "A MAN'S HOME IS HIS CASTLE." ; THIS IS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS PROVERB, WHICH IS THE

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

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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POLISH PROVERB

WHOEVER GETS UP EARLY,
GOD GIVES HIM THE MOST.
KTO RANO STAJE,
TEMU PAN BOG DAJE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT STRONGLY BELIEVES IN THIS PROVERB.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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POLISH PROVERB

WHEN THEY'RE CATCHING THE BIRD,
THEY SING TO HIM.
BUT WHEN THEY CATCH HIM,
THEN THEY PLUCK HIM.
JAK PTASZKA LAPAJA,
TO MU SPIEWAJA.
A JAK GO ZLAPAJA,
TO GO SKUBAJA.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USED TO SAY THIS PROVERB TO HER DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY WERE
BEING COURTED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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Superstition

Belief:

A pregnant woman should avoid being scared or shocked because this will disfigure or mark the baby.

Examples:

1. During a fire, a terrified pregnant woman grabbed her face with her hands and the baby was born with a red streak on its face.

2. A pregnant woman was scared by a mouse, and her baby was born with a marking on its shoulder similar to a mouse.

Submitter comment:

The informant heard of these two instances while she as a young girl in Poland.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Reference

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; Biology ; BIRTH ; Birthmark ; CHILD ; FEAR ; FIRE ; Mouse ; Offspring ; Old Wives Tale ; PREGNANCY ; RODENT ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): Reference

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth

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COUGH

A REMEDY FOR A COUGH IS TO DRINK A BREW PREPARED FROM DRIED
BALSAM LEAVES (LIPOWE LISCIE).

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USED THIS REMEDY ON HER FAMILY WHEN SHE FIRST CAME TO THIS
COUNTRY FROM POLAND; HOWEVER, SHE DOESN'T USE IT NOW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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MAGIC BELIEF

IF COWS WOULD NOT GIVE MILK IT WAS BECAUSE A WITCH HAD CAST A
SPELL. THE ONLY WAY TO RELEASE THE SPELL OR BREAK IT WOULD
BE TO PUT PINS IN THE MILK STRAINER, AND THIS WOULD HURT THE
WITCH. THUS SHE WOULD HAVE TO RETURN AND RELEASE THE SPELL.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT SAID THIS TYPE OF MAGIC WAS USUALLY RECOMMENDED BY THE
FORTUNE TELLERS IN POLAND.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AGRICULTURE ; Cows ; CURSE ; MAGIC ; Milk ; Pins ; POLAND ; Spell

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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MAGIC BELIEF

IF A COW DOESN'T PRODUCE MILK, IT'S BECAUSE THE WITCH
HAD CAST A SPELL, THEREFORE, BEFORE ALL HOLY DAYS, POLISH
VILLAGERS WOULD BURN BLESSED HERBS IN AN INCENSE BURNER IN THE
BARN, BELIEVING THAT THE SMOKE WOULD CHASE AWAY THE WITCH.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; Cow ; CURSE ; FARMING ; MAGIC ; Milk ; POLAND

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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Song

Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell--ding ding
Miss Susie went to heaven
The steamboat went to hell--o
Operator give me number nine
If you disconnect me
I'll push you right behind--the refrigerator
There lay a piece of glass
Miss Susie fell upon it
And broke her little ass.

Ask me no more questions;
Tell me no more lies;
Miss Susie told me all of this
The day before she died.
 

Submitter comment:

This song is sung while clapping hands with a partner. The informant does practice it now at Hull Elementary School in Livonia.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; Informant's grandmother's house ; 5678 Tarnow

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

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showing 17 items

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