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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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ENGAGEMENT

IN SOUTHERN GREEK TOWNS WHERE FISHING IS A WAY OF LIFE,
WHEN A MAN WISHES TO MARRY, HE PRESENTS THE GIRL'S FATHER
WITH A FISH. THE FISH IS THE GREEK EQUILVALENT OF AN
ENGAGEMENT RING. IT IS SYMBOLIC OF HIS ABILITY TO SUPPORT HER
AND HER FAMILY, IF NECESSARY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Symbols of engagement
BELIEF -- Fish

Date learned: 04-00-1979

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PREGNANT WIVES

IN THE UKRAINE, DURING WW 1, MANY MEN LEFT THEIR WIVES AND
WENT TO AMERICA. THE WIVES WOULD BE SENT FOR WHEN THEY
COULD BE SUPPORTED. OCCASIONALLY, ONE OF THESE WIVES WOULD
GET PREGNANT. WHEN THE HUSBAND, WHOM MAY HAVE BEEN GONE
FOR SEVERAL YEARS, OFTEN FOUND HE ALSO HAD A FAMILY, THE
WOMEN DEVELOPED A STORY TO EXPLAIN THIS HAPPENING. THEY SAID
THAT AS A STORM TOOK PLACE, THE WIND BLEW UP UNDER HER DRESS
AND THEY BECAME PREGNANT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

James Callow Keyword(s): WORLD WAR ONE

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 04-00-1979

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ARMY ESKIMO RHYME

"I DON'T KNOW, BUT I'VE BEEN TOLD, ESKIMO GIRLS ARE
MIGHTY COLD"... U. S. SERVICEMEN IN ALASKA DURING THE FIFTIES
DEVELOPED THIS LITTLE RHYME TO EXPLAIN HOW THINGS WERE
IN FAIRBANKS, ALASKA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

Subject headings: 730 Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- War cries
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

Date learned: 04-00-1979

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HOLY SATURDAY RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

ON HOLY SATURDAY MORNING OF EASTERTIDE, MOST POLISH-AMERICANS HAVE
THE TRADITIONAL CUSTOM OF TAKING FOOD FOR THEIR EASTER DINNER IN A
LARGE BASKET TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD FOR A
BLESSING BY THEIR PRIEST. THE BASKET IS USUALLY OF THE WICKER
TYPE AND CONTAINS SUCH ITEMS AS HAM, HARD BOILED EGGS, BUTTER, SMALL
LOAVES OF BREAD, AND KIELBASA (THE SPECIAL SAUSAGE MADE BY
POLISH-AMERICANS THEMSELVES). THE TOP OF EACH BASKET IS USUALLY
COVERED WITH A SMALL CLOTH OR TOWEL, AND WHEN THE PRIEST COMES DOWN
THE MAIN AISLE OF THE CHURCH, THE PEOPLE REMOVE THESE TOWELS SO THAT
SOME HOLY WATER IS SPRINKLED ON THEIR FOOD. THEN THE TOWEL IS
REPLACED AND TUCKED OVER THE FOOD AFTER THE BLESSING WITH HOLY WATER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; SWIECZONKA

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 10-03-1969

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AGRILCULTURE BELIEF

CORN SHOULD BE KNEE HIGH ON THE 4TH OF JULY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

James Callow Keyword(s): INTERNAL RHYME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- July 4 Independence Day
BELIEF -- Plant husbandry Farming

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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PLANTING CUSTOM

SOW SEEDS IN TRAYS IN HOT BEDS ON VALENTINE'S DAY, FEBRUARY 14TH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

Keyword(s): PLANTING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 14 Valentine's Day

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PROVERBIAL METAPHOR

GIVE A MAN A FISH AND HE EATS FOR ONE DAY. TEACH A MAN HOW TO FISH AND HE EATS FOR A LIFETIME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

Keyword(s): ANTITHESIS

Subject headings: Favorites
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1971

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CHRISTMAS BELIEF

EVERY CHRISTMAS MORNING A PAN OF WATER IS PLACED UNDER THE SINK. A
CHRISTMAS TREE BRANCH, A PENNY, A NICKEL, A DIME, A QUARTER AND A
FIFTY CENT PIECE IS PLACED IN THE WATER. THIS WATER IS THEN USED TO
WASH IN. WHEN YOU WASH IN THE WATER YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SPEND
MONEY FOR HEALTH.

Submitter comment: DOROTHY BANAS RELATED THE CUSTOM BUT WHEN QUESTIONED ON THE REASON
FOR THE CUSTOM SHE WAS UNABLE TO REPLY. EMIL MAZUR IMMEDIATELY
INSERTED HIS BELIEF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY ; TOLD AT

Keyword(s): CONTAGIOUS MAGIC

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions

Date learned: 10-24-1970

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CHRISTMAS BELIEF

TWO CANDLES ARE LIT AND PLACED ON THE TABLE DURING THE CHRISTMAS EVE
MEAL. AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEAL BOTH THE FATHER AND THE MOTHER
WOULD BLOW OUT A CANDLE AND THEN WOULD WATCH THE SMOKE. IF THE SMOKE
WENT UP YOU WOULD LIVE ANOTHER YEAR. IF THE SMOKE WENT OUT THE DOOR
YOU WOULDN'T.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; TROY

Keyword(s): DEATH ; PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles

Date learned: 10-24-1970

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