Author Archive
Game

Underground Church

 

 

Underground Church by Lee Thibodeau

 

There’s a group of 15 people, or ten people, you have to pick one priest and two guards. The guards will outnumber the priests in a one to two ratio. So basically, the priest is chosen and the two guards are chosen and everybody in the group will know who is guards and who is the priests and they’re selected randomly. Everyone starts in a set location. You need a big field. You could actually play in an area with a lot of objects like trees or cars or somewhere where there’s actually like structures. The priest and the guards will leave and the priests will be able to choose what their jail will be, the object or the area will be the Underground Church. And the two guards will leave and they’ll pick their own area that will be the jail. And then the rest of the people who are not chosen will be some civilians, or townsfolk and they have to wait in the area where the game started, which is preferably in the middle of the field or area where the game is taking place.

After about a minute, when the priest and the guards have picked their Underground Church, the game will start. How the game works is – the priest wins if he gets, or the priest and townsfolk because they are kind of on the same team, the priest wins if he gets all of the civilians into the Underground Church. The guards win if they capture the priest. So the guards will constantly be on patrol trying to capture the townsfolk and if they can tag them fast enough, they are dragged off to the jail and they are stuck into the jail until another townsfolk sneaks in or the priest comes and everyone gets out of jail at the same time. So- if you’re in the Underground Church, you’re safe. The guards cannot capture you there and that also includes the priest. If the priest is in the Underground Church, the guards cannot take you out. So it’s this kind of battle between people getting stuck in jail and you having to send townsfolk out to the point where the priest has to go out himself, because there is too many people. So- the game can go on for quite a while and if it takes too long, to where the priest or a lot of townsfolk is in the jail, eventually the guards will win. So, basically the priest does not want to get caught.

 

A lot of times when I would play the game, we’d play at this park and there would be a forest. Typically someone would choose a tree and when you’re near the tree, that would be the church or you are touching the tree. And then the jail would be like this. There’s like this gravel structure and it was kind of like a square, on the park and that would be the jail. We often change things around because we don’t want to let the guards to actually know where the Underground Church is ‘cause some of them may hide out and try to catch people trying to get to the church. To save someone basically, someone has to run into the jail, grab someone else who’s in the jail already and then they get 10 seconds of immunity. Just basically run away. As soon as the priest gets caught, the guards win. As soon as all the citizens go into the Underground Church, the priest wins.

 

1. What is being performed?

A field game: Underground Church

 

2. Can you give us some background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

This is a game we would play with groups of friends back in Washington. I learned it first from a friend who lives in my neighborhood.

 

3. What country and what region of that country are you from?

Informant: Washington State, the United States.

 

4.  Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

It is of Christian relations, relating back to Roman times, when Christianity was not an accepted religion. I belong to Christianity.

 

5. Where did you first hear the story?

From a friend.

 

6. What do you think the origins of this story might be?

Roman times.

 

7. What does it mean to you?

It relates back to those Roman times. To me, it reminds me of the ties I have with the friends who taught me.

 

Context of the performance- Late night in the dorm, from a friend

 

Thoughts about the piece- You have to be there in the moment to play this complicated game and understand the strategy. It sounds like a mix between tag, hide and seek and a religious story, a way to collaborate and compete.

Other indoor versions, vocabulary (“centurians” for guards) and team building at

http://www.youthpastor.com/Games/index.cfm/Underground_Church_344.htm#.WO-LU7vytsM\

http://www.jubed.com/view/Underground-Church

Childhood
Legends

La Llorona

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: A story by Amy Melendrez

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant:  “La Llorona” a lady drowned herself and her children by driving her car into a lake. Now she walks crying out for her children trying to find them.

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: Mexico, central.

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: Family’s Catholic but story is not religious.

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: Family

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant:  Folkloric, word of mouth

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: It’s a bit of a joke- “If you don’t go to sleep, La Llorona will get you.” It’s more for children.

 

Context of the performance- conversation with a classmate

 

Thoughts about the piece-  Although “The Weeping Woman” is a popular Hispanic ghost story, my informant seems to think it is contemporary (mentioning a car). For a more traditional telling of this old cautionary tale about an unfaithful husband and his vindictive wife, see here: http://www.literacynet.org/lp/hperspectives/llorona.html This story is thought to be from the 1500s but a 1986 San Antonio murder has eerie similarities: https://ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/haunted-places/la-llorona/

Folk Beliefs
Legends

A Haunted Park called Giggle Hill

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: Haunted park called Giggle Hill by Rayna Koishikawa

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant: Giggle Hill is a park in Maui. The legend says you are supposed to hear giggling but my friends and I only heard screaming (turned out to be owls)

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: US Maui, HI

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: No

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: My experience, the legend says the soldiers brought their girlfriends up on the hill and you can still hear them giggling. We only heard screaming.

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: It depends on which story.

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: It’s just a fun story from my past.

 

Context of the performance- classmate conversing before class

 

Thoughts about the piece-

An old WWII story still encourages young people to visit a romantic spot in groups but sometimes have a different experience from the original. Giggle Hill is a well-known landmark and park that is featured here: http://mauimama.com/parks/united-states/hawaii/haiku-pauwela/parks/4th-marine-division-memorial-park-giggle-hill/  and http://www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/tour-hawaiis-creepiest-places-google-street-view-so-you-dont-really-have

Childhood
Folk Beliefs
Legends

Whistling at Night

 

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: Whistling at Night by Rayna Koishikawa

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant: My Kumu (hula teacher) told us whistling at night summons night maschess (ghosts of Hawaiian warriors)

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: Maui, HI

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: I don’t belong to this group but it is a Hawaiian superstition.

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: My Kumu

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: Hawaiian legend

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: Childhood superstition

 

Context of the performance- Talking with a classmate before class

 

Thoughts about the piece- Whistling is thought to bring bad luck in Russian, Japanese and many other cultures. I’ve heard warnings not to whistle in kitchens (French Revolution origins) or while sailing (New England- whistle up a storm). Here is another version of the Night Marchers of Hawaii: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/hawaiian-legends_n_3898664.html

More Hawaiian superstitions at: http://www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/your-must-know-list-hawaii%E2%80%99s-diverse-local-superstitions

 

Tales /märchen

Aesop Tales

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: We have our own series of ‘Aesop Tale’ like folk stories and stories with moral lessons. By Jacqueline Jung

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

 Informant: I like these pieces because having exposure to Western and Eastern stories- it’s so interesting to see the cross over of  ‘moral lessons’ (air quotes) or the emphasis of compassion or community. I learned of these stories when I moved to Korea.

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: South Korea. (but born and raised in the US)

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: Not tied to a specific religion but they are Korean folktales.

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: When I was living in Korea, moved there in 2006 and when I was learning the language, reading various folktale books.

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: I think very similar to Aesop. They were developed as stories for kids to be compassionate and hardworking.

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: They are very sweet stories. I find them particularly fascinating because they have really similar aspects with tales like Cinderella, The Ant and the Grasshopper and other Western Folktales.

 

Context of the performance- conversation with classmate before class

 

Thoughts about the piece- Reading a children’s book to learn a language is common and this exposure to cultural beliefs seems to have another purpose, to teach about societal values through story at a young age or to an immigrant. You can read a version of the Korean Ant and the Grasshopper here: http://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2015/6/28/the-goblin-treasure-a-korean-folktale

 

Childhood

Heal, Heal, Butt of a Frog

“Sana Sana Culo de rana. Si no sana hoy sanara manana.”

(Heal, heal, butt of a frog, if it doesn’t heal today, it’ll heal tomorrow.)

 

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: Ritual Song by Steph Elmir (Genre: Childhood)

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant: It’s a nursery rhyme in Spanish, I love it because it is used after someone is hurt. My mom taught me this in Miami. It’s silly and makes children laugh.

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: USA- Miami

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: Catholic/ Hinduran/Lebanese Descent

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: My mom. My home.

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: Frogs have magical qualities in Latino Culture and are considered good luck.

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: It makes me feel safe. It reminds me of home and a good relationship with my mom.

 

Context of the performance- Conversation with classmate before class

 

Thoughts about the piece-  Relating childhood folkways is an emotional experience for most students living far from home. Mothers in many cultures use song to comfort their children. Here is a video of the song in Spanish, featuring Kermit the frog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw14B0sclFw

Is it culito (ass) or colita (butt)? That seems to depend on which country you are from: http://remezcla.com/lists/culture/colita-vs-culito/

 

 

Folk Beliefs
Gestation, birth, and infancy

The Golden Dragon

Interviewer: What is being performed?

Informant: Folk belief by Crystal Soojung Choi

When a Korean mother becomes pregnant with a son, she has a dream that a golden dragon appears to her.

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

Informant: My dad told me this story because my grandmother (his mom) had that dream when she was pregnant with my dad. I really like this story because of the mystical qualities surrounding it.

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but my dad was born and raised in the Boseon area of South Korea.

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: It’s a dream that Korean mothers have when pregnant with a son so I suppose it is prevalent in Korean families.

 

Interviewer:  Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: From my father before I went to sleep one night.

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: It could be part of the values of royal families in older generations that a son was desired for offspring and thus, they were welcomed as a precious treasure before and after birth.

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: With the appearance of the golden dragon, it could show how precious a child is in a family and that they are treasured and loved.

 

Context of the performance- conversation with a classmate

 

Thoughts about the piece- Other portents of sons include dreaming of cows, tigers, snakes and pigs but dragons are the luckiest. Daughters are symbolized in dreams by flowers, jewelry and other delicate objects. More Korean dream interpretation here: koreancultureblog.com/2015/03/17/try-the-korean-way-of-dream-interpretation/

Childhood
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

New Year’s Eve Tradition

 

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: New Year’s Eve tradition by Alec Shale

Every year while waiting for the new year to begin, we would do a giant puzzle and try to finish it before midnight.

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant: Tradition created with my Dad for every New Year’s Eve when I was young. I like it because it reminds me of fun times with family.

 

Interviewer:  What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: United States, Arizona

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: My Family

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: When I was 4 or 5 years old.

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: On a New Year’s Day without much to do, we had a puzzle and decided to race to solve it.

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: To me, this is a tradition that means time spent with family…. Doing an activity, but mostly just talking and enjoying each other’s company. I intend to continue this tradition with my kids.

 

Context of the performance- conversation with classmate

 

Thoughts about the piece- This informant believes his family tradition to be unique but I have also experienced a quiet NYE with my family. Our activity is preparing and consuming a gourmet dinner. In both cases, an introspective preparation precedes a momentous symbolic shift. Googling New Years Eve at home yields almost 19 million results, even a wiki-how; http://www.wikihow.com/Enjoy-New-Year%27s-Eve-at-Home-With-Your-Family

Childhood
Holidays
Musical
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Soren Banjomus

Skillema-dinke-dinke-du, skillema-dinke-du!
Hør på Søren Banjomus, han spiller nemlig nu.
Skillema-dinke-dinke-du, skillema-dinke-du!
Kom og syng og dans med os, det syn’s vi, at I sku’.
Vi glæder os til juleaften, så bli’r træet tændt,
og vi får fine julegaver, ih! hvor er vi spændt.
Skillema-dinke-dinke-du, skillema-dinke-du!
Bar’ det altså snart var nu.

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: A Danish Folksong Soren Banjomus by Jens Sweeney

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where     or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant: From my mother. It’s a Christmas Carol about singing and dancing in the joy of Christmas.

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: West Jutland

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: Danish heritage

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: Christmas time. From my first memory.

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant: It’s a Danish children’s song, sung on Christmas.

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: Home, Family, Warmth, Love, Joy

 

Context of the performance-  conversation with a classmate

 

      Thoughts about the piece-  If you listen to the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hasJBmVzt-U you may find that you recognize it. I thought it was a preschool nonsense song that I learned as a child from Barney (the purple dinosaur) “Skidamarink a dink a dink, Skidamarink ado, I love you.”  It turns out that the Danish was actually adapted from an American Broadway musical from 1910!

Folk medicine
Protection

The Story of the Tenrikyo Miracle that Saved My Grandfather

Nationality: American/Japanese

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Japanese

Age: 23

Residence: New York City, USA

Performance Date: April 13, 2017 (Skype)

 

Sammy is a 23 year old man, born and raised in New York who is a representative with the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York City.

 

Interviewer: Good Morning. I never heard of Tenri, can you tell me something about it and a tradition associated with it.

 

Informant: “Ok ok. The teaching of Tenrikyo (sp)”

 

Interviewer:  Can you spell it please.

 

Informant: “that’s T-E-N as in Nancy R-I-K-Y-O, Tenrikyo, ah basically we are taught that our bodies are something that is lent to us from G-D something that we borrow something from G-D The Parent and uh just our minds are our own ah our own. And basically depending on the way we use our minds G-D The Parent will ah show ah us ah the proper way to mature spiritually hum which means basically is to become selfless and in order to do that we basically have to keep our minds from becoming ah or getting rid of our egos basically. And ah what we are taught when we use our minds in selfish manners it is like we are accumulating dust. And when we accumulate dust, we are unable to see our goals as human beings um from what it should be basically. Um and so what we do in the Service the Tenrikyo Service is we ask G-D The Parent to sweep that dust from our minds ah but we are also responsible for our own, you know, how we use it individually. So we have to continue to keep ah fighting ourselves almost not others and fighting ourselves to not to be greedy or arrogant or selfish or anything like that. Ah but if you ever get the chance please read up on and the teachings of Tenrikyo ah it is native to the country of Japanese ah the country of Japan and there is a small town in Tenri where we call our home.”

 

Interviewer: When did you first become aware of this?

 

Informant: “Ah actually I was born into the church.  Ah My Father he ah he was I am a third generation Tenrikyo and basically my father he came to New York to spread the teachings of Tenrikyo and he so started at a church in Bayside Queens, and that is where I was born. My my original, my grandfather was the one who kind of started the faith and he ah he has suffered from ah tuberculosis and he was saved miraculously ah through ah missionary who was walking in Japan, a Tenrikyo Missionary and he was taught the same thing what I actually just said.  And ah realizing that it was his own mind that was the problem he kind of replaced his mind and ah decided that even though he was going to die from tuberculosis he might as well die you know saving others.  And when he, he firmly resolved that mind ah, he was saved from his tuberculosis in some way. My father was born and also I was born after that. So it is kind of nice.”

 

Thoughts about the piece: 

Faith healing belief systems exist in many cultures and modern medicine placebo testing is one way that the power of thought to promote health is being investigated. Tenrikyo is a matriarchal religion founded on miraculous healing. Background can be found here: http://what-when-how.com/religious-movements/tenrikyo-religion-of-heavenly-wisdom/ Another testimonial is: http://tenrikyology.com/343/36-firm-resolution/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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