Author Archives: bpbutler


1. “There are a lot of Zombie stories in China, especially the middle part of China. There’s a lot of mysterious people who are so skilled at controlling zombies to do something very bad. These people are suppressed by Chinese people in mid 20th century because the communist party would suppress them and their stories. Stories still circulate today. We call the people who control the zombies Jiangshi. In Chinese it means the people who chase the zombies to control the zombies. They control zombies so they could use them to force people to give them money and if people give them money they would not use the zombies to damage their homes or damage their families. There’s specific details in ancient Chinese books. These are real jobs 200 years ago but it’s prohibited by governments in different eras because they’re mystical. Also, people who take those jobs are against the government.” 

2. He knows stories like these because he’s from Shanghai. Supposedly these are magical tales that parents tell their children.

3.  I went into his dorm and asked him if he could tell me some Chinese folklore. He had so much more that I couldn’t fit into the project as a whole.

4. This element of Chinese culture is not necessarily one seen only in China. Even more so, it’s not necessarily only seen in the eastern parts of the world. For example, there are very similar characteristics associated with voodoo practices in the caribbean. As far as I know from my subject, there aren’t exactly “good voodoo” practitioners in china with zombies like there are in the caribbean. It’s also worth noting that he made an effort to outline the fact that he couldn’t remember all the details that he’s read in the ancient Chinese books. That means not only were these stories spread by word of mouth, but apparently there were some fairly well developed written accounts of these stories as well. That could possibly mean that these books contain not only written accounts of these individuals known as the “Jiangshi” but it’s also possible that they include instructions on how to actually perform the deed of raising the dead as well.

Kenyan History

Description: Long time ago they came and settled in their spot in Kenya. Since the forty tribes are all dispersed around Kenya. They came and settled there and had a bunch of wars like with the other tribes to claim territory. And then once they had it that land has been passed down through generations. For example, where my grandparent’s land is, well they’re Luos, but where their land is is where Luyas live because it was very close to the border. Since there’s not as many disputes anymore they bought land that was a bit outside of that. There were issues with the tribes intermarrying. I’m not sure exactly how that ended up happening. The people came to a compromise. They got the tribes to unite by having the British coming over and taking the land. The British treated the locals as third class citizens and once they got fed up with that they united and basically kicked the British out and decided to form a nation. The biggest legendary figure was Jomo Kenyatta. He was the first president of Kenya. But my grandparents would say something different. I can’t exactly remember what they’d say. I guess my great grandfather was involved with trying to gain independence from them. They were kind of the ones who were pulling the strings behind the curtain. But like, Jomo Kenyatta was maybe the main guy. My great grandfather knew him. He was apart of the people who appointed him president. Nowadays no one really talks about it that much. And since, my grandparents on my mom’s side, they’ve all died. So now it’s only my mom’s generation left. No one really knows about that anymore. They still kind of know like the surname and everything but they don’t really know. Still, I consider to be more of my father’s family since there’s more relatives there.”

2. My friend learned this in school and also from his family.

3. I walked into his dorm room and asked him if he could tell me some Kenyan folklore. He told me this one.

4. A lot of this is recorded historical fact. However, there manages to be a remnant of information that may or may not be that of legend. He mentions that his great grandfather new the first president of Kenya. This may be true, but it may not be in the way that his family would like to believe. It’s possible that his family has expanded on his grandfather’s involvement and given it an extra flash of honor.


Kenyan Funerals

Description: “Since there are 42 tribes in old traditions. I’m in from four different tribes. Luya Kikuyu, Luo and Messai. For traditions we adhere to the Luo traditions the most. But even still it’s not, we’re kinda moving away from that. It’s kind of more for the older people.  After the person is taken to the funeral home, they’re brought back to the family home and put in a room, like where people are. If they had family near by. And then there’s a process of two or three days until the burial which normally happens close to the family home. There’s a burial site which is usually right near the home where the whole family is buried. The burial site is close to where you live as opposed to you being close to the burial site. It’s better to be buried with your family but if not that’s ok. But like in the city and like where I live people are buried in the cemetery. So there’s that difference compared like to my grandma’s place. There’s usually a service where they service food before the burial service and then everyone gathers around. A few people say a few speeches about the person. And then, after that the actual burial happens. They throw in roses at the coffin as it goes down there. Once it goes all the way down people will throw soil like take handfuls of soil and toss it in. If there’s enough time everyone will throw soil in but most of the time there’s not enough time so it’s usually just the main family characters, people that were close to the person. And then after that there’s also food is served. Traditional foods are like beef stew, mazen beans, rice, mashed potatoes, things like that.”

2. He knows about these customs because his grandmother told him. He’s been to some funerals but nothing exactly like this one.

3. I walked into his room and asked if he could tell me about Kenyan folklore. This was one that he told me.

4. Because Kenya is so new, It’s adopting the Western traditional methods of funerals. That’s why he’s only been to contemporary funerals. Still, there are not too many differences between his way of funerals and the Western way. We carry a lot of the same traditions and ideas.

Kenyan Independence Day

Description: Usually for independence day the president goes and gives a speech about how the country has been in the past few years and where we’re trying to go. It’s an olympic stadium. It’s got like a track and everything. I don’t usually go. I’d say mostly people with low wages go to it more. Most people just watch it on TV. There’s not any specific clothes you need to wear. There aren’t special foods to eat like there are in the States. We don’t really shoot off fireworks either. People celebrate independence day like with their family. You pretty much just stay home. Well, I mean, it differs from person to person.

2. He knows this because it’s celebrated every year and he participates by watching it on TV and spending time with family.

3. I walked into his dorm and asked him if he could tell me about Kenyan holidays. He told me about this one.

4. Because Kenya is a new country, it doesn’t have as much folklore as perhaps older countries. The majority of folklore I got from my friend was about the older traditions of the 42 tribes. Still, this provides insight into the social class system and practices of the modern Kenyan people.

Guru and the Boiling Water

Description: “Yeah so he (Guru Arjan) was like, i guess the Muslim invaders wanted him to comply to their invasion. I don’t know what the exact context was but he like refused so they like boiled him. Er they put like a metal slab with boiling water underneath him but since he’s so spiritually powerful it didn’t do anything to him. For like five days or something like that. Eventually the Muslims were successful. I think they, I don’t really know honestly, but I’m guessing they went to a village where he stayed and he was a spokesperson for those people, like a representative. So like they demanded something and he refused so they punished him. But he was so spiritually powerful it didn’t affect him. There were ten Sikh Gurus. They didn’t necessarily politically rule. I think some of the last one was a military leader too. He was a defence from invaders from Afghanistan and muslims on the east side. But this one was just a spiritual leader. He was just a spiritual leader. Most of these guys are just spiritual leaders.”

2. This was a story that he had seen in books but had also just heard by word of mouth as well.

3. I walked into his dorm and asked him if he could tell me some Hindu folklore. He gave me this one.

4. The Punjabi people obviously have a lot of respect for this man. He is seen as a goal for them all to strive for in their spiritual lives. He protects the weak and honors all as equals. This gives him immense power as an individual.