Author Archive
Game

Switching Soccer Shin Guards

Informant:

Karl is a freshman aerospace engineering major. He spent thirteen years in a traditional boy’s chorus. He is also an avid soccer player

Piece:

When I played soccer in high school, my team had this tradition of if we were down we would all take one shin guard out and give it to someone else on the team to wear. SO we would all have like each other’s shin guards on instead of our own. I guess it was sorta a way to like bind us together when we were down and inspire us to try to score another goal and win.

Collector’s thoughts:

The informant explains that the exchanging of shin guards was done as a way to promote good luck when the team was down. Traditions like this are common throughouts sports and can be seen in many different sports. Similar to this tradition, baseball players turn their hats inside out when they are down to promote good luck. It is interesting how in sports one wishes for luck when ultimately it is the athlete using their own skills to accomplish a goal.

 

 

Folk speech
general
Legends

Irish Poem

Informant:

Terry is a second generation Irish american who grew up in los Angeles in the ‘60s and 70’s. He is now a dentist working and living in the Bay area.

Piece:

Informant: “There is this poem that my uncle told me back in 1970 when I was 10 years old. My parents sent me to Ireland to live with my cousins for the whole summer. I had never met any of these people before, but knew them through the stories my dad told me about all of them. But one night my uncle Paddy drove me to the Bridge at King John’s Castle in limerick… you know the one we’ve been to before. And he told me that this bridge was where the Banshee would come out late at night if you were walking alone. And then out of nowhere he started rattling off this old irish poem about the banshee called “Drunken Thady and the Bishop’s Lady” and it was a long long poem that took about twenty minutes to say. I was amazed that he had remembered all of it and then we got back in the care and drove back to the house in Janesboro. Then the rest of the summer I tried to memorize the poem just by hearing it over and over so I could tell my dad when I got back home to Los Angeles, but I was never able to remember the entire thing.

Collector: Do you remember any of the poem?

Informant: ughhh oh boy lets see

Before the famed year Ninety-eight,

In blood stamped Ireland’s wayward fate;

When laws of death and transportation

Were served, like banquets, throughout the nation

But let it pass the tale I dwell on

Has not to do with red rebellion.

 

Uhhhhh and then there is another part at some point that goes

 

There lived and died in Limerick City,

a dame of fame oh what a pity

that dames of fame should live and die

and never learn for what, or why!

That’s all I can remember.

 

 

Collector’s thoughts:

I find it amazing that the informant could remember even the slightest bit of this poem despite having half learned it more than 40 years ago. Being sent at such a young age to stay with Irish relatives reveals how, despite living in the US, his parents and family still valued their Irish heritage and culture. For a full version of the poem see:

http://www.limerickcity.ie/media/drunken%20thady.pdf

Holidays

Easter Tradition

Informant:

Pat is a junior chemical engineering major from Southern California.

Piece:

Alright so for easter my family, as opposed to celebrating the religious side of it, just focuses on coming together as a family and like bonding with each other. And we all go to upstate New York where my grandparents live and have like this massive four hour feast. And we have all these different courses and food and half way through there is a break to go change to the next pant size up and then come back and eat more. It’s a lot of fun every year.

Collector’s thoughts:

For the informant, Easter is more about family than it is a religious holiday. Rather than celebrate the religious aspect, Easter is used as a justification to gather as an entire family and share a meal with each other.

Rituals, festivals, holidays

Diwali Traditions

Informant: Sid is a sophomore university student from a hindu background

Piece:

My family isn’t like orthodox hindu, so on Diwali every year instead of lighting candles to light up the entire house we just light one candle to be kept lit throughout the day in each room and then we use the lights like normal. I used to think it was sorta scrubby, so one year I convinced my parents to go all out so like we just had a ton of candles and it was a pain cause it smelled and was super dark and I couldn’t see anything and just felt weird.

Collector’s thoughts:

This piece shows how all traditions, including religious ones, feature what Dundes called “multiplicity and variation”. To the informant, the more “traditional” version of celebrating diwali was also the less authentic way. Rather, the combined use of candles and electric lights was a better way at capturing the importance of the day to the informant.

 

Festival
Legends
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Trip to find Sasquatch

Informant:

Rowan is a sophomore double majoring in Math and economics. He is from the Bay area.

Piece:

So i’m really interested in Sasquatch. The plural of a Sasquatch is just Sasquatch. Not sasquatches which everyone says and it always bugs me. So a lot of people believe that there are Sasquatch that live in the pacific northwest. And I have cousins from Idaho and we are spending a week hiking around Washington trying to find him and after that end our trip at the Sasquatch music festival on memorial day.

Collector: Do you believe sasquatch exists?

Informant: 100%. For sure. Sasquatch are out there, they are just really good at hiding. There have actually been a lot of sightings of sasquatch up there and we are pretty confident that we will see one.

 

Collector’s thoughts:

I find it interesting that an informant who studies extremely quantitative, fact based subjects in university, is interested in finding sasquatch. The informant was adamant about his belief in sasquatch in his words, but his tone suggested otherwise. Additionally, upon researching further I found the Sasquatch music festival to be a yearly sasquatch themed music festival that occurs each year in washington.

 

Adulthood
Customs

Indian Wedding Tradition

Informant:

Shehan is a sophomore aerospace engineering major from Atlanta, Georgia,  

Piece:

So ummm it is an indian tradition that when you have the bride and groom like the week prior to the actual wedding day they have this thing called a pithi. That’s a word in Hindi. But what they do is they get the groom and he sits on a chair all of his like bachelors like hang out and chill with him for a little bit and then they just like start throwing eggs at him and like ketchup mustard, mayo. really the plan is to like get him as dirty and gross as possible .the tradition is is like cleansing your body at the same time. They do the same thing to the bride, but with her they just put some sort of oil on her face, but for the groom it’s always like eggs yolks and always turns into a big food fight. And its like really fun, really gross and it happens before every wedding

Collector’s thoughts:

The most interesting part of this wedding tradition to me is that the informant says it is a indian bachelor party tradition, yet mustard, mayo, and ketchup are all very american condiments that are not traditionally indian. This reveals that while the tradition may come from the informant’s hini background, it has taken on a distinctly american twist in what foods are used to throw at the groom.

Life cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Mexican Birthday Tradition

Informant:

Joseph is a sophomore social science major at USC.

Piece:

So our family tradition, and i think it’s  a pretty common Latin tradition is that well what our family does is that every time its someone’s birthday party when it comes time for the cake and after they blow out the candles and we take those candles off we always yell mordedura which means bite and the person has to bite the cake. But what they don’t know is that someone always has their hand behind their head and actually smashes their face into the cake. Its one of our favorite most enjoyable traditions ever.

 

Collector’s thoughts:

This tradition is interesting because in any other context the action is rude and mean, but in the context of one’s birthday it is a fun playful tradition that everyone enjoys even when they are the one getting their face smashed into the cake. In this way, this tradition reveals the bonds within families and the importance of birthday traditions.

 

Game

Staying Close Through Minecraft

Informant:

Dina is a college freshman from Northern California, she comes from a large yet close knit Italian family.

Piece:

My brothers and I love to play all types of games. Like board games and video games and just all types of games. I mostly like board games, but those are way too hard for us to play since we are all at college and away from each other for so long each year. So to make up for that we play video games with each other online. They like to play league of legends, but I don’t like that game at all. But we all play Minecraft together and built this house together on Minecraft and it’s super cute. And we built it to be the same layout as our house so that even when we are in all different places we can be at home together.

Collector’s thoughts:

This is a great example of how the internet has allowed people to stay close to each other despite long distances. The informant’s ability to stay close with her family is completely dependent on the internet which links them up via a game.

 

 

Folk speech
general
Humor
Narrative

A Joke with no Punchline

 

Informant:

Daniel is a first year analyst at a prominent Manhattan based investment bank. He grew up in Northern California from a predominantly irish background

Piece:

The first party I ever went to was kinda a bummer. I was invited the day of and was stressed cause I had nothing to wear. So I went to the mall and picked out a shirt and waited in the checkout line. But then I was hungry so I went to wetzel’s Pretzels and waited in the pretzel line. And then later that night I showed up and waited in the party line to get in. And then when I finally got I went to get a drink but there was no punchline.

Collector’s thought’s:

This joke takes a while to develop and is paradoxical in nature. The first person aspect of it makes it so that the audience can not tell that it is a joke and not real until the repetition of waiting in lines kicks in. Part of what makes this joke funny is that the punchline of the joke is literally that “there was no punchline”, a paradox that is equally infuriating and hilarious.

Game

Second city and UCB Improv Schools

Informant:

Cameron is an avid improviser who specializes in long form improvisation.

Piece:

There are two main improv schools that teach the craft and those are Second City and the UCB but they both have very different styles. UCB is game based which means that basically they focus more on finding an action or phrase to be funny and then heightening that and using that to make the scene funny. Whereas with second nature they are super character driven and focus on making compelling characters, not really on the action of the scene itself. And I tend to think that ummm Second City has the better format and style, but at the same time Second City uses improv as a means to the ends of writing sketch scenes. But I think that improv can be an ends itself. But overall i think both schools have a lot of good skills that are worth taking.    

 

Collector’s thoughts:

Both schools have tried to, in one way or another, write canonized rules for an improv scene. In doing so they claim that they are able to create the best Improv scenes and have the best style. The reality though is that many improvisers take classes from both schools in order to be well balanced in different techniques. Improvisers take notes and ideas from everywhere and use these to synthesize themselves as a unique improviser.

[geolocation]