Author Archive
general
Myths
Narrative

Norse Mythology

We also have the story of the kraken. Ships going down at sea, was not uncommon. A lot of the Norse mythology is trying to use different creatures in order to explain different things. Mostly with nature, the power of nature. The kraken was an explanation of how ships went down. The ships go down because there’s a giant sea creature. It’s very similar to pirates of the Caribbean. They very much popularized   the idea of the kraken. And pirates too for that matter. I mean it’s interesting to think about whether my family was part of the Vikings that were raided… or the ones who raided.

Other things that’s very Norweigan is the idea of gnomes and elves. My mom has a ton of different dolls she puts out for different occasions. Some of them are really creepy. I would get nightmares from them.

 

  1. Were they like voodoo dolls?

Similar I guess, but not really. It’s just that there incredibly creepy. They also have giant heads. I don’t know why.

My Thoughts

            Dolls are often used in horror movies as vessels for demons. They honestly are incredibly frightening. So the fact that they put out many different kinds for different occasions is in my mind, a living nightmare. But I suppose each one has significance and a meaning. The kraken is an interesting concept. It almost reminds me of the story of the Lochness Monster. They’re both incredibly large creatures that terrorize ships at sea. I suppose Moby Dick could be added to that list, even though it was clear he was a whale, he’s still a large creature that terrorized a ship.

 

Customs
Festival
Foodways
general
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Norwegian Christmas

Well…all of my mom’s side of the family is Norwegian. Norway and Scandinavian traditions are actually quite dark. SO for example, one of the traditions we always do, is my mom always like to say the tradition of Santa Claus in the Norwegian manner. It’s very different… I don’t really remember it. But Santa looks very different in like his look and his style. I think he wears elk boots. My mom has a pair of elk boots she likes to put on display. We also have a Norwegian accordion. So that’s always fun to play around Christmas time. I’ve attempted to play it but I’m not really that good. But every year we play it and dance to polka.

 

  1. Do you ever play the accordion for any other occasions?

Not really, it’s just a Christmas thing.

  1. Are the boots for human feet, made of elk fur, or are they for elk hooves?

I think they’re human boots. They kind of look like elf boots in that they’re pointed at the toe.

My Thoughts

Every culture has different traditions for Christmas.   American traditions really idealize Santa Claus in the red suit and the white beard. But the reason for that is actually the Coca Cola Company. They were the ones who dressed Santa as that.   Many other cultures might dress him very differently. Also, elk v. reindeer, is there really a massive difference there? I’m intrigued that polka is the type of music they listen to and dance to around Christmas time

Festival
general
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Story of Christmas Eve (as told by Caitlin)

We don’t really do this anymore, because my brother and I grew up. But when we were little kids we would go to church for Christmas. We were too little to go to midnight mass. We would put out milk and cookies for Santa and the Christkindle, which is the Christ child who we were told brings us our gifts. But because we grew up in Liechtenstein we knew both about Santa and the Christkindle. And also carrots and water for the reindeer. We would put them just outside the door of the patio. We would go into my parents room and my mom would read us this story she would read every Christmas eve. It was called I believe “One Wintery Night,” it was one of those cute books that was hand drawn. We would be cuddled up on her bed and my mom would be reading the stories to my brother and me. Notice how my dad wasn’t there haha. Mom would tell us he was working. All of a sudden we would here one of the bells on the Christmas tree ring. That meant Santa had come. And we run downstairs and the presents would be there and we were so excited. We would open the window and yell “Thank you Santa and Chirstkindle.” Now as an adult I realize it was my dad the whole time.

  1. Were you ever suspicious that it was your dad?

Not when we were kids. I guess we really believed my dad was working that late on Christmas Eve.

My Thoughts:

It’s interesting how family traditions can be blended from more than one place. For example Santa, a quite American tradition and Christkindle, a tradition from Liechtenstein. It’s cute how these kids were so excited that Santa had come. I personally believe in educating kids to reality sooner rather than later, but I suppose I can see the merit in letting them believe in the magic of Christmas.

general
Tales /märchen

Der Funka (Der Funken)

Its like a way of bringing in the new year. I know Lichtenstein, Switzerland celebrate it. I’m not sure about Austria or Germany but for sure we do. Basically around New Years, after Christmas time, you put your dead Christmas trees on the curb and the boy scouts will come pick them up… Every town has there own one. And the boy scouts take the trees and build enormous towers out of them… They are sometimes as tall as a five story or four story building. It depends on how many they get. They stack em all up and as a tradition of the new year, the burn it. At the very top is a witch figure. It’s like a puppet or a doll and they stuff it with fireworks. When the fire reaches the top, the witch figure explodes because of the fireworks. It’s a big deal the whole town comes out. You can get this food called Funkaküachli, which is basically funka cakes and you can get bratwurst and sausages and rolls and hot chocolate and different teas. It’s cold out in a big open field. If the tower falls down, that means you’re gonna have a long winter but if it stays standing, spring is near by. It’s like a closing ceremony for winter where you bring in the new year starting with spring.

 

My Thoughts:

This is basically a foreign version of Groundhog Day. It’s literally celebrated for the same purpose, just with different determining factors. It’s interesting how much pomp and circumstance goes into this where as in America, there isn’t really a ton of hype around Groundhog Day unless it’s in Pennsylvania with Punxsutawney Phil.

general
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

St. Martins Day

It’s the catholic holiday of light. If you were in kindergarten, you would make lanterns and at the night, you would parade around the town with them. You’re parents would come with you, and the whole town did it. Every school did it. The song we would sing goes as follows:

 

In German

Ich geh mit meine Laterne, und meine Laterne mit mir.

Da oben leuchten die Sterne, da unten leucten wir.

Mein Licht ist schön, könnt ihr es sehn?

Labimmel labemmel labum.

Mein Licht ist schön, könnt ihr es sehn?

Labimmel labemmel labum.

 

In English

I go with my lantern, and my lantern goes with me.

Up there shine/glow the stars, down her we shine/glow.

My light is pretty, can you all see it?

Labimmel labemmel labum.

My light is pretty, can you all see it?

Labimmel labemmel labum.

 

 

My Thoughts:

This reminds me of a Halloween parade like the kinds we used to have in elementary school. Everyone would dress up and we would walk around the field for everyone to see our cool new costumes. It also is reminiscent of caroling in Christmas time with a candle in hand.

general
Legends

The Story of “Die Guschger Sennenpuppe”

There’s a story called the Die Guschger Sennenpuppe. A Senn is like the people who tend to the fields Gusgher is the area where I’m from and puppe is doll… This is all in dialect though. This is like specifically from my area. So the Guschg is an alp in property of the town of Shawn where the shepherd’s and the alpine hill folk in there free time had fun. One day the made a doll out of old rags. She was life sized and the hill folk would speak to her and treat her like a real human. They would place her at the dinner table and feed her. She would even have to tolerate punches and being stabbed. Shortly before the Transhumans, which is a ritual of bringing cows down from the alps the doll was sat at the table and suddenly started to talk. All of the people that were working on the alps were so scared and they could barely contain themselves. The doll said “All of you except for one are allowed to go down the alp and leave with the cattle, but one of you has to stay with me” and she pointed to one shepherd and he was forced to stay. As the rest of the shepherds looked back from Valorsch, one more time, they saw the skin of the shepherd that stayed behind, stretched over the roof of the alp hut. Next to it sat the doll, laughing.

 

  1. Where did you first hear this story?

At school and at campfires, this is our folklore so we would just hear these stories. The first time I heard this was probably when I was in kindergarten.

My Thoughts

There’s a ton of scary stories about living dolls. Usually they deal with the life of a demon manifesting itself in the body of a doll. This however makes no mention of a demon. I am also slightly off put by the fact that as a kindergartner you would hear this story. This to me is like letting a five year old watch Saw.

general
Legends
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

When I was younger, my parents wanted to teach me a lesson about lying. The used to tell me the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” except as a girl they used to tell it to me as “The Girl Who Cried Wolf.” It was actually the same story… but with a girl instead of a boy. It really did help though, I don’t lie often haha. I suppose I’m glad they told me the story.

  1. Can you tell me the story the way you’re parents told you?

Ok sure.   There once was a little girl who lived by herself on a farm. Her neighbors were very friendly and would always help her when she needed it. If she needed a cup of flour they would give her a whole bag, if she needed some firewood they would chop down a tree and give her all the wood from it. One day, she was, outside tending to her farm animals when she heard a rustle in the leaves. “OH NO” she cried “WOLF WOLF WOLF.” They neighbors came running to help but when they got there, nothing was there. “Sorry” she said. “I thought there was a wolf.” The neighbors, being the nice people they were let it go and went back home. The next day the girl was out tending her crops, when she heard the barn door creak. “WOLF WOLF WOLF” she cried again. As could be expected the neighbors came running over to help the girl. “Sorry” she said, “I thought there was a wolf.” The neighbors were a little upset but the left and went home anyways. The following day, the little girl was outside gathering grain for bread, and she heard splashing in the stream. “WOLF WOLF WOLF” she cried yet again. The neighbors came running fearing that their neighbor and friend was in danger. When they got there… nothing. “Sorry,” she said, “I really thought there was a wolf.” The neighbors got fed up with this and vowed to come to her rescue ever again. On the fourth day, the girl was outside hanging up her laundry when she saw an actual wolf approaching her. “WOLF WOLF WOLF” she cried out. But no one came to rescue her… “WOLF WOLF WOLF” She yelled again. But still, nothing. The wolf came closer and ate the girl alive. And all along the neighbors never came to help her because they had been tricked too many times.

My Thoughts:

My parents told me the same story all the time (The Boy Who Cried Wolf). I think it’s an interesting way to teach the lesson about lying although to be honest, she might have been an overly cautions easily scared girl… or boy, I suppose. It’s interesting how violence can scare young children into doing the right thing.

Folk speech
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Beggar vs. The Rich Man

  1. Did your parents ever tell you any stories that taught you important lessons?

They weren’t really big storytellers but there was one from the bible. It’s the story about the poor man in the streets who gave a coin as a donation and a rich man who gave the same. The poor man had much less to give than the rich man and when he gave that coin, he gave so much more of what he had. When the rich man gave a coin, he gave only a small amount of his wealth.

  1. What lesson did this teach you?

Quantity is not necessarily what’s important, but gauging what you have to give is.   If you’re having a bad day, and you give someone a smile it means so much more than on any other day. This story originates from the bible and to be honest I don’t really know how or where. All I know is when I was younger my parents would always say remember the beggar with the coin. I don’t know what entirely they meant by that especially when I was little. But know I remember always the beggar with a coin… I think it might’ve been a lady.

My Thoughts:

I’m always interested in hearing a good moral story. I’ve also heard that in the bible, there are many comparisons to rich men and poor men. There’s something in the bible where they teach about how much money one should give to the church. It’s interesting how it’s very similar to a tax as opposed to a donation

general
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Day After Thanksgiving

  1. What’s A Holiday Tradition You Celebrate?

It’s kind of basic but every year after Thanksgiving my Mom and I decorate the house for Christmas. We turn on KOST 103.5 with all their Christmas songs. We start with a small fake tree that used to be in the kids room when we all shared a room. There are little mini ornaments that my grandmother gave us. They’re nativity scenes and they fit nicely on the small tree. My family is Christian, so the nativity is fairly meaningful to us. We even have this book that we put out every year detailing the Birth of Christ as told through the life of trees. My grandpa really loves trees… he loves to draw trees, so this book is super meaningful.

  1. How Long Have You Done This?

For sure since when we moved to where my parents currently live so that was like 2000. I know my parents have had some of the significant decorations for much longer. Also every year my grandparents give us coordinating ornaments every year so it’s cool to see them all on the tree each coming year.

  1. What Significance Does This Have?

Well like I said we’re Christian so the book and the nativity scenes are meaningful. But also it’s a good time to spend with my mom and bond. I don’t get to see her very often anymore since college so it’s a good time.

My Thoughts:

Family is an important value especially, in the Christian community. It’s a good experience to bond with them. Christmas is a time that I celebrate with my family and it’s always fun to celebrate doing something where you’re working towards a common goal.

general
Legends
Narrative

The One About Ferrari’s and Fidelity

So I know this joke that I was told by my dad when I was little… So it goes like this, it’s the one with the cheating and the Ferrari… it goes like this. So one man dies and is at the gates of heaven. He approaches St. Peter and St. Peter says, “you’ve been a good man, you’ve never cheated on your wife so to get around heaven you will get a Ferrari. The man then goes through the gates of heaven. Another man dies and is at the gates of heaven. He approaches St. Peter and St. Peter says, “you’ve been an ok man you’ve only cheated a few times, so you get a broken down Toyota. The man then goes through the gates of heaven. He see’s the first man in the Ferrari crying and approaches him. “What’s wrong?” he asks. And the man replies, “I just saw my wife on a skateboard!”

 

  1. Why did your dad tell you this?

I don’t really remember, but I think it was probably as a way to say don’t cheat. It’s a satire to teach a lesson about cheating like “oh if you cheat you’ll have to ride a skateboard in heaven” or something like that.

 

My Thoughts:

I appreciate that humor can be used to teach lessons. Fidelity is a very important thing to teach your children, but how do you do it without being too personal and detailed? A joke, obviously. It’s a good way to make an important point without letting out more information about the subject than necessary

[geolocation]