Author Archives: Dyllan Fernandez

Cookie Rudolph

The informant related a holiday tradition.

Around Christmas time, the informant would make a family cookie recipe (itself not folklore since it has been written down for many years). However, the tradition of making the cookies is folklore. One year, she was inspired by watching the annual broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to make the cookies and liked the festive atmosphere that created. Thereafter, the making of the cookies was determined by the TV guide since it became traditional to make the “snowball cookies” only when Rudolph was on the TV. Eventually she purchased a VCR and was able to make the cookies on her own time. She still only makes them to Rudolph though, and only in the holiday. She has passed the tradition on to her husband and sun as well. She thereby contributed to the evolution of the tradition of baking cookies by adding another element to the ritual.

Constant Drip

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

“Constant dripping wears away the stone.”

He interprets this to emphasize the importance of perseverance.

 

That this is a widespread proverb interesting is interesting due to the connection to the popular legend of Chinese water torture. As the legend has it, the Chinese would torture prisoners by slowly dripping water on their foreheads. This could be a literal interpretation of this proverb.

Watermelons and Peas

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

“If you grow the watermelon, you will get the watermelon. If you grow the pea, you will get the pea.”

The informant says that this emphasizes the natural causal relationship of the universe.

I see the phrase as being  akin to the phrase “you asked for it” meaning that you shouldn’t be surprised by the result you get when you made designs on achieving that result.

Teapot Orientation

The informant is recounting a folk practice/superstition she learned while at a restaurant with a Chinese friend.

“It’s considered bad luck to have the teapot pointing at you.”

She doesn’t know why her friend believes this and does not believe it herself, though her best guess is just so that if it spilled, it would not spill on her.

 

Her explanation seems like a plausible reason behind the folklore but I wonder if there is a more spiritual reason commonly accepted.

Cart Proverb

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

The cart will find the way round the hill when it gets there.

He interprets to mean that you should not worry too much about the future.

 

This reminds me of the American saying: “You shouldn’t put the cart before the horse,” meaning you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself and think too far ahead. They have very similar meanings and both relate to carts. They could possibly be distant oicotypes of the same idea.