USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘virgin mary’
folk metaphor
Folk speech

Las Perlas de la Virgen

Title: - Las Perlas de la Virgen

Interviewee: Armando Vildosola

Ethnicity: Mexican-American

Age: 21

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): Just me and my older brother Armando, as I asked him to share his most important pieces of wisdom that our family has shared throughout the generations. We do this every so often as some way to strengthen the bonds that we have as brothers, something of a brother meeting or a brotherly bonding session. We are sitting in our home in San Diego around our dinner table, having just finished dinner. Out house is full of family walking about visiting from Mexico. We are both on spring break from school at USC.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee- “Las perlas de la Virgen”

Interviewer- “What is that?”

Interviewee- “Well it directly translates to the pearls of the Virgin. As in the Virgin Mary.”

Interviewer- “What does that mean to you?”

Interviewee- “Same thing it means to all Mexicans. It something that you use when you want to make fun of someone for valuing something too highly or when they expect too much. Something like, “You want me to pay you how much for that? What do you think that is, the pearls of the Virgin?” Things like that. It’s really common among all Mexicans.”

Interviewer- “Where did you first hear of this saying?”

Interviewee- “Oh everywhere in Mexico growing up. I remember that my mom specifically said it a lot, and soon when I was around 16 it found a way into the words that I use. I kind of starting using the words my mom used.”

Interviewer- “Why do you use it so much?”

Interviewee- “I don’t know really. I mean it’s just so easy to use and it’s really good for what it does. On one hand I guess that it does fill a need word-wise. But on the other hand using it reminds me of my mother, and my family that I have since lost. It makes me feel like a real Mexican when I use the phrase. I like it.”

Analyzation:

This saying is common throughout Mexico, and one can see that it connects the Interviewee with his culture, even when he is living in the United States. It means more to the Interviewee than other people, but that it just this once case. This phrase is derived from the Catholic faith, and it makes sense that Mexicans would use such a phrase. Mexico is after all the most Catholic country in the world, total percentage of the population wise. It only makes sense for their faith to become a part of their daily lives, including the way they speak.

Tags: Mexico, Saying, Catholicism

Customs
Festival
Holidays
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

I recall participating in a festival just once many years ago, as a child, in Whitehall, New York, with my paternal family.  Apparently, this traditional celebration on July 16 has been part of their tradition since my great grandparents immigrated to the United States.  My informant said, “One of the greatest traditions that Italians brought with them was the establishment of the ‘Sons of Italy Society’ which all young men enrolled in.  They continued to foster all the customs and activities from their heritage.”  In particular, she described a parade that was part of the event, calling it one of the “proudest achievements” of the society.  Marching through the village of Whitehall, people of all ages in the Italian community took part in the parade, which included bands and floats.  My informant also mentioned other festivities associated with the July 16 event.  “In the evening a band concert was held.  Ethnic food was sold in various booths in an open field.”  She recalled her favorite part of the event being the grand display of fireworks that was held in the late hours.  She said, “It was the culmination of all working together to bring the best entertainment to all the folks in Whitehall and all the nearby communities.”
My informant associated this event with a certain Mass that was held on that day, but gave no other detail other than that it was a “solemn Mass” and that it was conducted by three priests and celebrated by three generations of family.  More details about this celebration, its origins, and its association to the religious calendar can be found in a report from another informant on this same event, and in the annotation.

My aunt also participated in the July 16 festival (mentioned in the previous report) growing up.  Her slightly differing recollections that may illustrate changes that were made over the years, or perhaps are just details that my great aunt forgot or left out.  My informant, my aunt, also provided some information on the festival’s name and association with the Catholic church.
According to her, the festival was a three-day event, from July 14 – 16, called the Tritium.  The church conducted a special service and benediction at night on the fourteenth and fifteenth, and on the third day everyone celebrated a feast called the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  My aunt said there were two bazaars during the Tritium when she was growing up.  The first occurred on the fifteenth, and included food, fireworks, and a concert band.  The second bazaar, celebrated in Mt. Carmel field in Whitehall, was a town-wide event and was more extravagant than the more local festival on the fifteenth.  According to my informant, my great grandparents cooked and served hot dogs and sausage and my grandfather served beer at the event.  There were other activities and games such as roulette, as well, and everyone wore costumes.  Like my other informant, my aunt also called the eleven o’clock fireworks “the highlight of the summer.”  My family (great grandfather in particular) also used the event to collect donations for a charity, the Mount Carmel Society.

Annotation/additional comments:
The New Advent Organization’s Catholic Encyclopedia (article by Frederick G. Holweck:(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/index.html) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10604b.htm) gives a detailed account of the history of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The holiday was originally established in the late fourteenth century to honor the victory of the Carmelite sect over an enemy sect.  Throughout the years, it eventually came to be accepted as a holiday universally throughout the Catholic church.
Blood is only one aspect of ethnicity.  People groups are held together by many factors, including language, lore, and religion.  This religious festival helped to define and preserve an ethnic group in their new location.  As many Italian immigrants were Catholic in the nineteenth century (and continue to be), celebrating their Catholicism also helped to affirm their identity as the Italian-American community.

Customs
general
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Religious Tradition – Romania

Feast of the Assumption

A major religious event takes place annually on August 15 near the Maramures village of Moisei. Villagers from around the county make pilgrimages to Moisei’s monastery for the Feast of the Assumption. Walking in village groups, sometimes for two days or more, the worshipers carry crosses and holy pictures. The majority of walkers are children and young people. In a scene reminiscent of first Communion, little girls wear pretty white dresses with white flowers, headbands or ribbons adorning their hair.

After leaving the main road, the procession continues another mile and a half up a moderately steep dirt and rock road before reaching the spacious grounds of the monastery. Most groups arrive on the 14th, so the grass is covered with clusters of people who have spread blankets out and are enjoying the chance to socialize and catch up on news from neighboring villages. Some gather in a long open-fronted shelter which has been set up for the pilgrims. Many, especially the elderly, kneel in prayer before various icons set up around the grounds. Others worship in a small wooden church, typical of the region, dating to 1672 or in a larger, modern church nearby. On the 15th, priests lead special services for the thousands who have gathered in the wooded setting.

The Feast of the Assumption celebrates the Virgin Mary assumption into heaven. Mary is considered to be pure which explains why little girls are dressed up in white dresses and the flowers in their hair. It also no coincidence that the procession ends at the top of a hill which could be assumed to be closer to Heaven.

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