USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘priest’
Humor

The New Priest

Informant: So.. I have a joke about a priest if you want to hear it.

Interviewer: That sounds great.

Informant: So there’s a new priest that is taking over a church after another priest that is retiring. The old priest is teaching him about how he runs the church. “The most important part” he says “is the confessional. For small sins, I give one Lord’s prayer, for larger sins, I give two, and for really big ones I give three. If you have any questions, ask the warden, he’s been working here with me for a really long time so he knows almost everything.” So, one day, long after the old priest has left, the new priest has a woman in his confessional, who says “I had oral sex.” The new priest isn’t sure how bad this sin is, so he goes and asks the warden: “What did the old priest give for oral sex?” The warden replies “I’m not sure about other people, but to me he gave a fidorka (traditional Czech snack).”

Context: My informant is a nineteen year old Czech national attending school in the United States. He’s lived in Prague for most of his life, and Czech is his first language. The interview was conducted face-to-face in a college dorm room.

Background: My informant heard this joke from one of his friends. According to him, the Czech populace tends to be agnostic or atheistic, so jokes making fun of religion or religious figures are not uncommon. However,  these jokes are not mean spirited, but rather are used to criticize an institution which was normally difficult to criticize for much of Czech history.

Analysis: This joke is evidently poking fun at the church, but when one delves slightly deeper into its wording, there is a greater underlying significance. The joke references the older priest, supposedly a veteran cleric of the church, who, despite being a seasoned clergyman, still needs sexual satisfaction. The price of that satisfaction aside, it outlines an element of the Catholic church in particular – that is, the supposed abstinence of clergymen – and suggests that, perhaps, the clergy are not so pure after all. Here, we see the role of folklore in questioning larger institutions, their inner-workings, and their greater cultural roles.

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Polish Easter Basket Blessing

Nationality: Polish

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Polish

Age: 28

Residence: New York City, USA

Performance Date: April 15, 2017 (Skype)

 

Christopher is a 28 year old man, born and raised in Warsaw, Poland and who emigrated with his family to the United States when he was 8 years old.  He is a College Graduate with a degree in Political Science. He is currently employed as a doorman in an apartment building in Queens, New York.

 

Interviewer: Good Afternoon. Does today being Holy Saturday bring back any memories of how you celebrated Easter in Poland?

 

Informant: So on Holy Saturday we would wake up very early and we would make um an Easter Basket with the family. Usually the youngest in the family will make the basket and in the basket you would put in a boiled egg, a piece of bread so ah a piece of Kielbasa little items like that. And that Saturday Morning, you and the family would head to Church and the Easter Basket would be blessed by a Priest. You would not be allowed to eat meat until that Easter Basket is blessed. Once the basket is blessed the whole family can enjoy meat on that Saturday. And that is the Polish Tradition of Easter on Holly Saturday.

 

Interviewer: Do you have any special remembrances when you celebrated in Poland as a young child then when you immigrated to the United States?

 

Informant: Oh my best memory is just how people would dress up and take the holiday very seriously. It was a very big, big holiday in Poland growing up.

 

Interviewer: Were there any changes when you got to the United States and the way the Polish Community celebrated Easter as opposed to in Poland?

 

Informant: Well in Poland they would held a big mass and this would take two hours to do. Everyone would get together with the Easter Eggs and baskets and getting blessed.  Over here in America I noticed it is a quick five minute process. You enter the church, you see the priest, then you are right out the door.

 

Interviewer: Now, as you live in America and people are less devoted to faith then in Poland, does the holiday take on another significance beyond religious?

 

Informant: For me personally this is ah about family, it keeps the family together. This tradition keeps the family together. It is about tradition.  Without tradition we start to lose family. As I said, we all get together for dinner, we see each so it is just a great way to catch up with family you haven’t seen in a quite a while.

 

Thoughts about the piece:  

Polish immigrants that want to continue or revive this tradition of “swieconka” in the US, can find a list of church services and traditional basket ingredients on sites like this: http://www.cleveland.com/cooking/index.ssf/2014/04/easter_basket_blessings_of_foo.html Symbolism of basket ingredients is explained here; http://luzdelmes.blogspot.com/2016/03/a-traditional-polish-easter-basket.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[geolocation]