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James Callow Folklore Archive

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HOLY WATER FONT

FOR THE TWENTY YEARS THAT I RESIDED AT MY PARENT'S HOME
I CAN NOT REMEMBER EITHER MY BROTHERS OR MYSELF LEAVING
THE HOUSE BY THE FRONT DOOR WITHOUT DIPPING OUR
FINGERS INTO THE HOLY WATER FONT AND MAKING THE SIGN
OF THE CROSS. DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT WAS A HABIT,
MY MOTHER (POLISH) WOULD ALWAYS REMIND US.
AS WE OPENED THE FRONT DOOR SHE WOULD CALL, "DON'T FORGET TO
BLESS YOURSELF". THIS BECAME QUITE EMBARRASSING
AS WE BECAME YOUNG MEN AND WOULD BE LEAVING THE HOUSE WITH
FRIENDS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE. IN HER OWN HOME, WHEN MY
MOTHER WAS A YOUNG GIRL, HER MOTHER WOULD CHASE HER
BROTHERS DOWN THE STREET AND MAKE THEM RETURN TO THE HOUSE
IF SHE SAW THEM GO OUT WITHOUT BLESSING THEMSELVES.
THIS WAS NEVER MENTIONED IF WE WENT OUT THROUGH THE BACK DOOR.
AS I WRITE THIS IT SUDDENLY OCCURS TO ME THAT MY MOTHER ENCOURAGED
US TO USE THE BACK DOOR BY IMPOSING THIS FRONT DOOR
RITUAL UPON US.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Home
BELIEF -- Water
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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