Author Archives: Samantha Borchard

Bridesmaids Origin

Context:

The informant is a 29-year-old Caucasian female who will be called JH. She is of Irish and English descent and knows of this folklore from her family, more specifically her mother. This folklore piece is told in her words:

Main Piece:

My Mom told us that in old British tradition the reason you would have bridesmaids is because women had to travel great distances for arranged marriages, and you would dress like other girls to fool highwaymen and wayward outlaws from snatching the right bride. Which means your bridal party had to be willing to take your place.

Notes:

In Ancient Roman times weddings seemed to be heavily surrounded by the kidnapping of the bride. The best man also plays a part in protecting the bride from being kidnapped by disapproving family members or vengeful neighbors. This would explain the need for bridesmaids to blend in with the bride, so she can’t be easily spotted. This was also to protect her from evil spirits. Bridesmaids have become a way to share the bride’s wedding with women who are closest to the bride. The events prior to the wedding are a way for the bride to bond with those women and share special moments that she will remember after.

For more on the origin of the Bridal party/ best men/ bridesmaids, check out:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57821/21-historical-roles-and-responsibilities-wedding-party

Guy Fawkes Day

Context:

The informant is a 29-year-old Caucasian female who will be called JH. She is of Irish and English descent and knows of this folklore from her family, more specifically her father. This folklore piece is told in her words:

 

Main Piece:

“My dad (who is half British and half American) used to tell us about Guy Fawkes Day. The 5th of November was a day where a poor man tried to erase the class system via blowing up the house of Parliament. He was caught, hanged, and burned for his crimes. Every year, British people not only burn effigies of straw men in celebration of saving parliament, but you’re supposed to also burn bad habits. Basically, we were told this was getting rid of the bad, or the “treasons” in your life.”

Background:

JH was told about the folklore on Guy Fawkes Day by her father as she didn’t know the story behind the celebration. She celebrates it with her family since her father’s side is British, although she isn’t religious. She appreciates celebrating the day because it is something she can do with her family.

Notes:

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in commemoration of the failure of the “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605. This involved a group of Roman Catholic conspirators led by a man named Robert Catesby. They were upset by King James I refusing to grant religious tolerance to Catholics. The goal was to reestablish Catholic rule in England by killing the king and members of parliament. It is sometimes referred to as Bonfire Night and many people celebrate by making bonfires or setting of fireworks. I had not heard about this holiday prior to being told it by JH. It’s a very interesting thing to celebrate and how it is celebrated is interesting as well. I feel like these now; the day has become more of a cause to get together with family and friends to drink and eat together. Much like Saint Patrick’s Day, where it is celebrated by many people who have no real connection to the day.

Filipino Ensisit,

Context:

The informant is a 26-year-old male of Filipino descent. He will be referred to as DY. DY and his family lived in Hawaii for a time, and he currently resides in California. His piece of folklore comes from a story shared by a family member and is described in the main piece in his own words:

Main piece:

Ensisit are these little dwarf people in the Philippines that live under the ground and in the forests. They would travel around on banana leaves. I remember being told as a kid that they would hide in the trees and were typically seen as healers and they were very select at choosing who would share in this gift with them. My mom told me how my grandma would leave in the middle the night to be with them and people would typically go to her for help whenever they were sick, because they know that she was given the gift. Although the Ensisit do heal, they are very territorial and if you do anything to damage their little houses, you would fall ill. My cousin went to the Philippines when we were younger and was playing outside when she got sick out of nowhere and my family believed it was because she stepped on one of their houses so my family went through this whole ordeal where they placed offerings out as a sign of forgiveness in hopes that they would take back whatever they gave my cousin and it ended up working.

Background:

The folklore was told to him when he was younger by a cousin who experienced the event firsthand. DY finds the story very interesting but doesn’t know whether he believes in them or not since he was not there to experience it himself.

 

Notes:

This piece of folklore makes me think about the creation of these creatures to explain the unexplainable. DY’s cousin got sick while playing outside. The sickness seemed to have come out of nowhere which the family could not explain. Their conclusion was that the child must have upset the Ensisit which in turn caused the sickness. The family then left offerings for the creatures to ask for forgiveness and remove the sickness, which worked. This then perpetuates the belief in the creatures when in fact, their child could have gotten over the sickness naturally. I was unable to find stories about creatures called Ensisit, however, creatures similar to this are called Duwende. They are described as little gnome creatures that live in the trees and sometimes in the walls of houses and can be very mischievous. In the Philippines, families will often leave offerings outside their home, so they won’t be angry with them. It’s interesting that these creatures are called different things as I have another informant who calls them Matanda sa punso. These are also like the gnomes, usually male, and live on ant hills.

Two Boys near Pirates of the Caribbean

Context:

The informant is a young woman of 28 years old currently working at the Disneyland Resort. She will be referred to as DG. While DG was working at her former location in a restaurant within Disneyland, she was talking with her friend, who we’ll call KE. He described an odd situation that happened to him during a marathon held within Disneyland before the land was opened to guests.

Main Piece:

I was at work at the Galactic Grill working with one of my friends, KE. We were cleaning at the time and I asked him how his marathon went. He’s a runner and a track coach and did one of the longer Disneyland Marathons. KE told me that he was running out front ahead of everyone so there was no one around when he was running through New Orleans Square. As he passed the Pirates attraction, he heard children laughing and giggling in the distance like they were playing so he ran faster. Later he found out that the attraction was undergoing maintenance, so there was no one around or inside it. Maintenance workers were not scheduled to work on the attraction during the hours of the marathon. The voices sounded like two young boys playing.

Notes:

Disneyland has a fair number of stories shared by cast members about phantom voices and ghosts. One of the stories is of two young boys near the Rivers of America which is located directly across from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. In 1973, two boys decided to hide somewhere in Tom Sawyer’s Island which is in the middle of the Rivers of America. After park closing, they thought they would swim onto the main land to play in the park. While attempting to swim across, one of the boys struggled and when the other attempted to help, they both drowned. This event is the origin of the stories shared by cast members and guests who have heard the boys’ voices and have seen movement in the river near Tom Sawyer’s Island.