USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘fall’
Customs
Earth cycle
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Martinmas Festival

Content:
Informant – “On November 11th, Waldorf schools around the world celebrate Martinmas. As the story goes, Saint Martin was a Roman soldier. He saw a beggar shivering in the cold, so Martin cut his own cloak in half and covered the beggar with half. The beggar was actually Christ. To commemorate his generosity, the 1st and 2nd graders create lanterns and walk through campus sharing the light with the school”

Context:
Informant – “This is a festival of light. As the light decreases on Earth, the light becomes more inward. We bring the light inwards so that we carry the light within. Martinmas is celebration of Saint Martin, but it is also a sharing of our own internal light with the everyone.”
The informant learned about this festival when she started teaching at Waldorf.

Analysis:
Despite the references to Saint Martin and Christ, the actual festival is more pagan than Christian. It’s interesting that only the youngest grades make the lanterns and carry them through the school. Not only are they are spreading light at a time of darkness, they are also spreading youth and life at a time of dying.

Customs
Earth cycle
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Michaelmas Festival

Content:
Informant – “Every fall, on September 29th, Waldorf schools celebrate Michaelmas Festival to honor Saint Michael defeating the dragon. The 4th grade puts on a play. The play is different from year to year, but the overall plot is the same. A town is besieged by a dragon. A maiden gives herself up to the dragon to save the town. Saint Michael saves the maiden by taming the dragon. After the play, the high school sings a powerful three part harmony.
‘Hearken all, the time has come when all the world at last the truth shall hear; then the lion shall lie down with the lamb. Our lances shall be turned to reaping hooks, swords and guns be cast as plowshares, nations shall live in lasting piece, all men unite as brothers.’ ”

Context:
Informant – “Around this time, meteor showers are very prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere. The whole festival is very indicative of iron coming down to earth and strengthening humanity for its fight against the darker forces as summer ends and winter begins. The dragon isn’t really a dragon – it’s the evil within us. Saint Michael is the Lord of Light, his iron comes to strengthen mankind with light. The whole festival is a celebration of our higher, nobler self defeating our lower, base impulses.”
The informant learned about this festival on her own when she was studying Waldorf education.

Analysis:
The festival is an interesting mix of pagan and Christian influences. It’s intrinsically linked to both Saint Michael and the ending of summer. The fact that the dragon is tamed and not killed is also interesting. It reinforces the informant’s claim that the dragon is not an external enemy, but our own internal demons. We cannot kill our base impulses, but we can learn to control them. The timing of the festival is also interesting. It is a celebration of light and peace at a time when the world is getting darker and all the plants are dying.

Folk speech
general

Ecuadorian Slang

Estrampandose, which I just learned from my mother, is an um Ecuadorian term that I heard my family say before. It has two meanings, either like it’s like you’re falling apart and you’re like collapsed. Like, you fall and you collapse, and it’s like, ‘Se estrampó.’ She like almost died when she fell, type thing. What I do all the time. Or it can mean, like, hardcore making out, like, to the point that it hurts. So, it depends on the context, but that’s a word. Estrampandose.”

It seems this word is similar to the English slang of “She ate it,” which people use in reference to someone falling. As in, “She ate the floor.” But the second meaning is what’s very interesting. When you take the word estrampandose, it sounds like the Spanish word trampar, which means “to step.” So how does this connect at all to making out? It totally makes sense in the case of falling because when you fall, sometimes it’s because of a misstep. In the context of the  making out, it seems the word has totally been turned into slang.

But also, why wouldn’t Ecuadorians just use the regular word for falling? To fall, in Spanish, is caer. I guess it’s because estrampandose has more flair to it? Like the source said, they use it to describe a nasty fall, not just any fall. It’s applied in situations like she described, when someone basically almost dies from how hard they fell. Of course, that was probably an exaggeration, but estrampandose captures the exaggeration better than caer does. The word is far more grandiose, which I guess might be why it developed in the first place. The people felt they needed a bigger word to describe falling, so they came up with that. And then, somewhere along the line, it also came to describe making out. Curious evolution, indeed.

[geolocation]