USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘festivals’
Customs
Folk Beliefs
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Fruits of the New Year

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the performer (CS) and I (ZM).

ZM: Okay so, when I was at your house, you have grapes? over the…

CS: Mhm

ZM: What are those about?

CS: So um, it’s like a, I think it’s an Asian thing, it might just be a Filipino thing, but it’s like um…At the beginning of every year, fruits are like symbols of like Mother Mary and her bearing the fruit of Jesus. So, it’s sort of to bring good luck. So, you always have like before the new year comes in, in every, like, living space, you have to have a bowl of twelve fruits. So, in the kitchen, in the living room, you have to have a big bowl of twelve fruits. Twelve different fruits.

ZM: Why twelve?

CS: Each month of the year.

ZM: Okay.

CS: And then above each entry into a room you have to do twelve grapes to symbolize like the same thing. So like, it’s supposed to bring you like good wealth and good luck into the new year and it’s like a symbol of Mother Mary and like how she was blessed because she was gifted with like the fruit of the womb of Jesus or whatever.

ZM: That’s cool.

CS: Yeah. So my mom always has to go out and buy like twelve different fruits. It’s a struggle.

ZM: Yeah, how do you get twelve different fruits.

CS: We have grapefruits in the backyard, lemons in the backyard. Sometimes if she can’t find more, she cheats and she gets avocados. (laughs) It’s always like melons, like she’ll get a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and a honeydew. And then like, apples, peaches, and then the ones in our backyard, and then like, if she’s really tryin’ it she’ll like get a lime and a lemon.

ZM: Do you leave the fruit up all year?

CS: Yes! And it gets DIsgusting. Absolutely gross. Like one time, the grapes started falling on the one over, like going outside to the patio thing, like, the atrium, back there. We have one over there, and I was like “The grapes are falling. Like, you need to fix it.” My mom grabbed saran wrap, and then she like (laughs) she like made a saran wrap bag and then pinned it there and then when I was taking them down towards like… You usually change everything towards like, Thanksgiving/Christmas. So you don’t do it like right before the new year. You like start preparing for the new year around like, after Thanksgiving, like before Christmas. As we were changing them, I took down the bag and it’s like MOLDY, cause like usually they’re just out in the air. So it’s like, they just turn into raisins, but like this one had a bag because she was keeping all of the ones that fell and it was literally wet and moldy and it was like green and white mold, and I almost vomited, and I was like “This needs to never happen again.” Yeah you keep it the WHOLE year. If it falls down you HAVE to keep it up there somehow.

 

Context:Over the weekend I visited CS at her home and noticed fruit hanging from the doorways. A few days later I asked her about them and this conversation was recorded then.

 

Background: The performer is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. She is first generation American and her parents came from the Philippines. They are Roman Catholic.

 

Analysis:I thought this was a very interesting tradition. I have heard of fruit being a sign of fertility, but mostly in spring, but this tradition takes place around the new year.

 

 

Customs
Gestures
Kinesthetic

Ethiopian Apologies

Context & Analysis

The subject and I exchanged stories of our family’s traditions while sitting in a class discussion. She mentioned that she and her family were from Ethiopia, so I asked her if she knew of any unique Ethiopian traditions that westerners might not be familiar with. She described to me a traditional form of apology used by Ethiopians to express deep regret. The gesture is interesting because despite having ancient roots, a member of the younger generation is still intimately familiar with the practice.

Main Piece

“Basically, when you’re sorry or when your parent wants you to apologize to them, you have to kiss their knees. You just like bend down and kiss their knees. It goes all the way up to adulthood—it’s kind of more ritualistic when it’s an adult, like when you’re sorry you, like, kiss your parent’s knees. Or if you wronged your friend or something and you’re really, really sorry and you want to express, like, the deepest, deepest regret and like apologeticness? I don’t know if that’s a word, but yea.”

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Holiday tradition

The following was recorded from a conversation I had on the phone with my mother, marked JS. She described to me a few holiday traditions as well as rituals she did throughout her childhood. Below is one of the rituals.

 

JS: “We always used to leave our shoe outside on St. Nicholas Day which falls on December 6th. The idea is that he will come by and fill the shoe with treats. Sounds kinda weird, I know…but it always got the family in the Christmas spirit pretty early.”

CS: “Interesting, and you did this every year?”

JS: “Yeah, every year. My mom was way more into it than us kids were.”

CS: “Is there a reason you didn’t continue this tradition with me?”

JS: “I guess I decided it wasn’t as practical as just waiting till the 25th. Gave me more work to do too. I don’t know, by then the tradition was less thought of.”

 

Context:

A phone call conversation with my mom, JS, discussing rituals she did throughout her childhood around the time of the holidays.

Background:

JS currently resides in Laguna Beach, California but was previously raised in Minnesota.

 

Analysis:

I find this ritual interesting because it reflects the values my grandmother set for her family when it came to Christmas time. It is interesting that she decided to take a more unique path and doing a special ritual instead of the traditional and common Christmas traditions. What’s even more interesting is that this ritual didn’t continue into my mom’s adulthood and raising me. Instead, we do the very common Christmas and activities, and in fact, this was the first I had ever heard of this ritual. It is an interesting component of folklore to see how some of it sticks and is viewed with such importance in one’s life while others are simply forgotten over time.

Festival
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Nowruz – Jumping over Fire

The following informant is a 22-year-old Persian-American women from Southern California. In this account she is describing a tradition that is done before Persian New Year (Nowruz). This is a transcription of our conversation, she is identified as S and I am identified as K:

S: For Persian New Year, what you do like the Wednesday before, is you jump over fire. The point is to basically like ward off the bad vibes of the past, and like my parents told me that if I ever don’t jump over the fire then, like you don’t actually go into the New Year with bad vibes, but like the bad vibes are going to be more prominent. So, I will always try to go to whoever’s house to jump over fire, because you know, bad vibes.

K: So do you normally go to your family’s house?

S: Yeah or like, this year I jumped over a candle with my friend, still works

K: Do all Persians partake in this tradition, or is it a specific to Persian-Americans

S: Yeah, all Persians do it, or like 70… 80… like 90%

K: Do you have to do it in a group or can you do it by yourself?

S: No, you can do it by yourself, but it’s just more fun to do it with your family. So that you can jump with someone else, so you are both leaving bad vibes in the past, that is like what typically happens.

K: What does it mean to you, to partake in the tradition?

 

S: Um, I don’t really believe that you actually leave bad vibes back in that sense, like you don’t have to jump over fire to get rid of the bad vibes of the past year. But I think it is a fun way of keeping a tradition, a cultural tradition alive. So, to me it’s just a fun cultural activity, and even though a lot of Persians don’t live in Iran, they still do it.

Context:

This conversation took place at a café one evening. I was visiting the informant at USD, and after providing a different collection of folklore, she continued on to talk about this tradition. The conversation was recorded and transcribed

Thoughts:

I think it is a wonderful tradition. As the informant describes you don’t actually have to believe in its ability to ward off, as she says, “bad vibes” in order to participate. Any Persian can participate anywhere in the world, but still feel connected to one another.

Festival
Foodways

Sopapillas

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the performer (KM) and I (ZM).

ZM: So, for Zozobra, is there food?

KM: Yes. There’s a lot of food.

ZM: Are there any like special dishes that are like…You bring these out FOR Zozobra?

KM: Well, there’s not… There’s like… You can get them at restaurants too, but it’s like specifically at Zozobra, you can get… Do you know what sopapillas are?

ZM: I’ve heard of them, but like… You would have to describe it again. Like I don’t…

KM: It’s like…It’s kind of like a puff pastry type thing that you fry and it’s like a really like pillowy, like…treat. And you put like honey on it.

ZM: But, there’s nothing inside?

KM: There’s nothing inside. It’s just like fluffy inside and then you pull it apart and like put honey in it. So, it’s kinda just like a fried tortilla… But, like better.

ZM: Oh wait, so, but you said it’s fluffy?

KM: But it’s… So, yeah so if it’s like… When it’s not cooked it’s like a tortilla, but then when you fry it, it like puffs up.

ZM: Like a biscuit or something?

KM: Yeah, kinda… I’ll show you a picture. (laughs)

ZM: Is it corn or wheat or…?

KM: I have no idea. That’s a good…great question. A lot of people… Like, I’ve never had a churro…

ZM: Really?

KM: Which is crazy. But, like sopapillas are kind of like our churros.

 

Context: This is from a conversation with KM about her New Mexican culture. Zozobra is a New Mexican festival composed of multiple fiestas.

 

Background: KM is a sophomore studying at the University of Southern California. KM was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

Analysis: From the description given by KM, sopapillas seem kind of like beignets, but also kind of like biscuits. Either way, they sound delicious.

 

Customs
Festival
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Zozobra: The Original Burning Man

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the performer (KM) and I (ZM).

KM: Most of my like cultural traditions I would say actually come from like, New Mexico. And not like…(Irish traditions) So it’s an interesting mix of like Native American and like Spanish culture. So like, um…We do this… I’ll give you some of the backstory. Basically, some pueblos back in the like 1600s or whatever, rebelled from the Spaniards. And like, they were like an independent country for like two years or something. And then the Spaniards took them back over, but they were like “We’ll give you this fiesta that you can hold every year in September” to like celebrate the pueblo revolt. And so what we do is we… (laughs) This is weird. So just… give me a second. We um… have about a one hundred foot puppet that we fill with our like grievances, like something bad that happened to us in the past year. And then we put it on like…We like hang it up and it’s like a marionette so it like moves and shit and we burn it. (laughs) Yeah.

ZM: Wait so, what is the puppet of? Like what does the puppet look like? Is it a peeerson?

KM: Yeah. But it’s not like a… It’s like a…uhhh… I just have to show it to you. So we call it Zozobra, which means “burning man.” So it’s like…

ZM: Is this like the music festival?

KM: (laughs) No. It’s like… We… It’s a specifically like Santa Fe thing. So, he kinda looks like… (shows picture) So, it’s like kind of a man. But, not really. And he’s like a hundred feet tall and we burn him.

ZM: Is he supposed to be scary looking?

KM: Yes! Because it’s like old man gloom. Like all of the bad things that happened to you in the past year is like… personified in this puppet. And then we burn it to say like goodbye to all of that. Like we’re starting a new…

ZM: And this happens when?

KM: This happens usually the… Usually it’s the first Thursday of September, but it’s recently been moved because too many people were drunk, on a Thursday. So, it’s recently been moved to the last Friday of August. And we also…

ZM: So, that’s just like a week earlier.

KM: Yeah. So, its… I mean, it’s just because they wanted to do it on a Friday because all these kids would like get drunk and high on a Thursday night then like go to school the next day. So, um, now we do it on a Friday, but like it’s part of this whole week where we have like festivals and like parades and all that stuff.

ZM: Oh so the whole week is dedicated to…?

KM: Yeah! The whole week is dedicated… It’s called like… just “fiestas,” like in general and like on Saturday there’s a pep parade and then Friday is Zazobra and it’s just like… And then there’s a whole council. (laughs) Sorry. So, it’s call the Fiesta Council. And so it’s like all the original members…

ZM: Is that for the town?

KM: Yeah. It’s like, all the original um members like Don Diego de Vargas. Like all these famous people, who like first… Well, I know it’s not famous to you, but like famous in New Mexico for like, the first people ever in New Mexico to like colonize. So, it’s like Don Diego de Vargas, and like you like try out for this like… So it’s like the Princess of Fiestas and the Prince of Fiestas. And so you’re on this council and what you do is you come into the schools and we…They do a little like fiesta for us, and we can like go down in the gym and like dance with all of the like, city, like the council members.

ZM: Wait, so… Let me get this straight. Are they people that go to like represent the original members?

KM: Yes. So basically, they are like… the people, but like… So, you like try out to be these members…

ZM: So, could you try out to be…

KM: Yeah. I could.

ZM: Okay. You don’t have to actually be like…

KM: You should. Like, I mean, most people are, but…

ZM: Like Native American or?

KM: Well, or mainly Spanish. Because most of the people who came over to like colonize are the Spanish. And so, it’s mostly Spanish.

ZM: Oh! The colonizers.

KM: Yeah. (laughs) Even though we’re celebrating the pueblo revolt. It doesn’t make… But, a lot of people are Native American too. And there’s like different spots on the council for… So, it’s like the main council, and then like the Native American princesses and like… There’s like, a group of twenty. Something crazy like that. And then like, they come around and they’re like “Hi, we’re this year’s fiesta council. Like, come to Zozobra. It’ll be fun.”

ZM: So is that kinda like uhh… Like um, like a Miss New Mexico kind of thing?

KM: Yeah kind of.

ZM: But, like a cultural one.

KM: Yeah. So, it’s a big deal too. And then in every school they like would call out names and be like, “Oh the QUEEN of fiestas for Saint Michaels High School,” which is my high school…and they would just like name a person. And I always wanted to be that person in like elementary school, but then I realized you just have to be friends with like the people in the council. Cause they’re just like “Oh your daughter’s name is Sarah? Okay she’ll be the princess of Saint Michaels.” And I was like, “Bitch…I deserve it.” (laughs) Like come on…

ZM: But, what do you do as  the princess of…

KM: Oh you don’t do anything. You just wear a crown for that day… in the school.

ZM: Oh. But do you get to go to the… do you get to go to the…festival.

KM: Yeah you get to go to like a certain like VIP place for Zozobra. And it’s really interesting cause we play like a bunch of New Mexican songs and there’s like mariachi bands and like it’s really fun.

 

Context: This is from a conversation with KM originally about her Irish culture.

 

Background: KM is a sophomore studying at the University of Southern California. KM was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is of Irish descent.

 

Analysis: The most interesting thing about KM’s description of Zozobra was that even though the festival was made to celebrate the pueblo revolt against the Spanish colonizers, the colonizers are also celebrated in the form of the Fiesta Council. Again, the colonizers were put into positions of power over the others as members of the Fiesta Council nominate a Prince and Princess of Fiestas. It seems counterintuitive.

 

 

 

Game
general

Bud, Rose, Thorn

Bud, Rose, Thorn

This is a tradition that my family always does at dinner time when we have a large group of people over. One of our favorite times to do this is when we have dinner party is and sometimes we even do it on holidays. It is called Bud, Rose, Thorn, where you talk about different aspects of life. For the bow do you talk about something that you’re looking forward to in life, and this can be anything from trying this meal to a new job to meeting someone new. Next we do the Rose which is something that you have experienced recently that was a gray and you enjoyed it. Lastly the thorn Represents the adversity that you overcame her had to deal with a hide shit. It’s a way to get to know people, and also as an icebreaker if it’s a new oil intimidating group of people. Originally my brother heard this from my grandmother who had heard it from some of her friends. It also was a way to pass time and get to know people better. Things like these are especially interesting to analyze because of the unknown things that you can find out about people that you otherwise would not know.

 

Festival
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Novenas

Novenas 9 days before Christmas, novenas happen. They are a custom done at home in Columbia in which family gets together and has potluck style meals as well as praying together. The meals usually consist of home grown fruits as well as white meats. The Novenas, are usually more prayer oriented, the potluck tradition just grew as a well-mannered custom. Alex is a Colombian native who immigrated here when he was just a little boy. His family left Columbia in response to all the violence that was emitting from Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror. In order to keep his family traditions alive, his parents constantly told him about the vast events and beauty of his homeland and people. This tradition kind of reminds me of when someone dies, you light a candle for 9 days as well as praying together with family and sharing potluck meals.

Customs
Foodways
general
Gestures
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Tradition of Gift Giving- Christmas (Cali, Colombia)

During Christmas, it is, really common for people to make a lot of breads and pastries in Columbia to just give to surrounding neighbors. The more popular treats would be empanadas which are a pastry in which the inside is filled with different type of sweet pastes. The sweet pastries are a form of telling your neighbors to enjoy the festivities and have a great time, basically a good omen for the holidays. Alex is a Colombian native who immigrated here when he was just a little boy. His family left Columbia in response to all the violence that was emitting from Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror. In order to keep his family traditions alive, his parents constantly told him about the vast events and beauty of his homeland and people. This seems like a great way to start the holidays with gifts, as how usual Christmas goes in the United States.

Customs
Festival
Foodways
general
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Ferias De Cali

Cities are important to the location, each city has its own party, they call it ferias, the feria de Cali just happens to be during Christmas time , the carnivals are in Barranquilla Carnival. These carnivals are huge festivals in which the Colombian people showcase different sets of parades and a lot of other different stands just to show off their different type of foods or even toys for the kids to have fun with.These carnivals last for many weeks sometimes in order to celebrate through the time change of the seasons.Alex is a Colombian native who immigrated here when he was just a little boy. His family left Columbia in response to all the violence that was emitting from Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror. In order to keep his family traditions alive, his parents constantly told him about the vast events and beauty of his homeland and people

[geolocation]