Form of Folklore: Humor
Informant Bio: The informant was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia until 1990, when she and her family moved to the United States (Glendale, California), at the age of thirty six. Most of the folklore she has been exposed to is founded in Armenian culture. Her social surroundings in Armenia and her father are her primary sources of folklore.
Context: The interview was conducted in the dining room of informant’s house.
Item: Armenian Transliteration – Mihat jahel hars ka vor shat mutahokvatsa amoosnanaloo masin. Voroshuma vor gna ira tatiki mot vor hartser ta amoosnootsan masin. Hartsnooma “Amoosnootsoonu vontsa?” Tatiknel asooma iran, “Ari, nusti, bala, ameninch kasem. Amoosnootsyan arachi tas tarin, dook amoosin yev kin k linek; myoos tas tarin, unkerner k linek; myoos tas tarin, koor oo akhper k linek, heto, yerkoo koor k linek, verchi tas tarin, k kirvek te ova mets kooru.” Harsu asuma, “Bayts tati, du hitsoon tarits avel es amoosnatsats, ova mets kooru dzer mech.” Tatiku juptooma oo asuma “oves kartsoom?”
English Translation – There’s a young bride who is very worried about getting married. She decides to go to her grama to ask her about marriage. She asks, “What’s it like to be married?” Her grandma tells her, “Come, sit, my dear, I’ll tell you everything. The first ten years of marriage, you will be husband and wife; the next, ten years, you will be best friends, the next ten years, you will be brother and sister, the next, you will be two sisters, and finally the next ten years, you will fight over who is the older sister.” The girl says, “But grama, you’ve been married for more than fifty years, who’s the older sister.” The grama just smiles and says “Who do you think?”
Informant Comments: The informant believes there is a lot of truth in this joke. Being married for over thirty years, she thinks that the knowledge that the grandmother passed down to the young bride was very true. She believes that, in marriage, the two people grow very close the way that two siblings would grow close. Along with the closeness come more quarrels, hence, the fight over who is the big sister. This folklore has become a humorous way of telling brides (in real life) about what marriage is truly like.
Analysis: This folklore illustrates how marriage is viewed as a journey of two people who slowly evolve together and develop a close bond. It is interesting to note that the husband is the one who becomes a sister, not the wife becoming a brother. It seems that this is an indication that the female plays a dominant role in the relationship; especially considering how the grandmother smiles at the end of the joke and in doing so implies that she is “the big sister”. The mild humor of what is said by the grandmother shows that even after more than fifty years of marriage, she is able to look upon her journey with her husband and find humor throughout each passing decade.