Tag Archives: agriculture

Antelope Valley Fair


The Antelope Valley Fair in Lancaster, CA

Minor Genre: 

Festival; Celebration


“One of the festivals we had growing up was the Antelope Valley Fair. I think these [fairs] go back to where every year, you grow a crop and all the farmers bring in their best livestock and crops and whatever and show off what they made. It’s a huge community coming together to have a celebration.

“In Lancaster, [the fair] was basically all of the kids who did FFA and 4H and would bring their show animals. Steers, pigs, and sheep were the main livestock. One year, I had a grand champion lamb that I showed. But [in addition to the livestock], you still had all the other arts and crafts and stuff and everything else. It always happened the last week of summer before school started.

“I was there every year, but probably when I was seven or eight was when I started 4H, and that was when we got really into it. But we probably went there just for fun my whole life. My dad’s older brothers did the haybaling competition; before everything was automated, guys would go out on trucks and have to lift these hay bales with pulleys and hay forks. They had tractor races, too –– basically anything associated with a farm. My uncles were haybaling champions for many years in the 1950s.”


Antelope Valley’s first main industry was agriculture, with farmers crowing crops such as alfalfa, various fruit, carrots, onions, lettuce, and potatoes. The city of Lancaster emerged as a bustling city with successful farming at the end of the 19th century, and in the 1980s, had a large increase in population due to the development of new housing tracts. The informant was born in 1974 and would have experienced the Antelope Valley Fair during the period of this population boom, which may have corresponded with a popularity increase in the county fair.

The informant’s memories of the Antelope Valley Fair suggests a heavy agricultural influence in both their personal life and in the city of Lancaster. He had a history of farmers in his family –– the informant’s father raised animals, and his uncles had experience baling hay –– which likely skewed his perception of the fair to lean more heavily on its agricultural experiences, particularly because the informant himself participated in 4H. Additionally, the farm-oriented activities such as competitive hay-baling suggest that success as a farmer was a highly valued trait in Antelope Valley during the time period.

Korean saying: Green Bean Seeds, Red Bean Seeds

Nationality: Korean
Primary Language: Korean
Age: 50
Occupation: Country Branch Manager
Residence: Seoul, South Korea
Performance Date: 16 February 2024

Tags: green beans, red beans, seeds, agriculture, South Korea, proverb, saying, result


“콩심은데 콩나고, 팥심은데 팥난다.”

Literal: “You get green beans where you plant green bean seeds and you get red beans where you plan red bean seeds.”

Meaning: ‘Every result has its own reason.’


R is a born and raised South Korean. This is one of the sayings R taught me when growing up in Korea, along with a plethora of other proverbs and lessons. Apparently he had heard it from his father before him and so on, and it’s a pretty common Korean saying. R once said this to me when I forgot to bring my coat out one chilly winter afternoon and came down with a cold a few days later.


The English saying “You reap what you sow” might be a variant of this saying, as both are about agriculture and acquiring the direct result of your actions. Perhaps the cultural differences influence the way the saying is said (with Koreans using beans in many dishes and Western cultures liking simple, easy-to-say proverbs), while the meaning behind the sayings are shared worldwide.

Keep that line green!

“Keep that line green!”

Genre: agricultural jargan

Source: My father– was born in Bakersfield, California in 1959 to a family of farmers and currently works in finance. 

Explanation/analysis: My Dad remembers this saying as one of many from his teenage years working on his family’s farm. During watermelon season, he remembers his childhood friends (and summer coworkers, and eventually all trojan brothers) yelling to “keep the line green”, encouraging the workers to work as fast as possible loading the watermelons from the fields to the trailer. The line refers to the visual green blur the watermelons created when thrown fast enough. He elaborates that in the tough heat and conditions the workers would form a passing line for each row “with 100 melons, in perfect unison” being thrown from one person to the next until it reached the final strong man standing in the trailer being pulled by a tractor. My dad notes that sayings like this kept morale high and encouraging joking and keeping their minds off the heat. 

Maui Harnessing the Sun

Informant Context:

James has lived in many locations internationally, including Cosa Rica, Mexico, and Nepal. His family is located in Hawaii, where he will often visit during his breaks from school. He is a student in London, United Kingdom, studying fashion. 


JAMES: Obviously I am not native Hawaiian, but having spent some time there—especially now that my family lives there—um, there’s obviously a pretty rich cultural… culture of storytelling, and obviously they had their own kind of mythology and stuff. And one that always stuck with me was that on oddly enough, in the hotel that we used to say at often when we would go to Maui, there was a huge massive like—oh gosh, it must have been, it was probably like 30 feet tall, 20 feet tall and like 40 feet wide—is a massive wood carving of Maui harnessing the sun. Which comes from… obviously, Hawaiian legend and myth—of how in the early days of creation, the sun raced—was obviously a personified person, and they would drive rapidly around the earth, basically, racing around the earth and… days were so short,  that people couldn’t do anything, they couldn’t get anything done. And so, they—the people, you know, cried out to Maui their demigod savior, and said, “Can you do something—[laughs]


JAMES: —about this?”, as people tend to do of their deities and stories, and even in modern days, but that’s a lit—that’s a different issue [laughs]. Um… and yeah, so as far as I’ve been told the story, it’s—Maui climbed up to Haleakalā, which is the, uh… largest—larger of the two volcanoes on Maui, and cast out his fishing net—which is one of those ones that you like… yo—I don’t know like, the term for it, but you like, swing it out, and it like, spreads out. And he managed to catch the sun, and brought him down to earth, and was basically like “Hey!”… basically threatened him, which I feel like you shouldn’t do to like, the *sun*, but… he… basically threatened him—

INTERVIEWER: [laughs] You’re nice to the sun?

JAMES: [voice broken by laughter] You know? Like, you kind of… be polite, [or(?)], diplomatic, but—


JAMES: Anyways, I guess you can do whatever you want if you’re a demigod. And uh, yeah. But he harnessed the sun, brought him down, and basically [showed him(?)] like, “Hey! You—we need like, more… we need longer periods of light. Because otherwise, the food isn’t gonna grow, and if… we can’t just keep working at night, because you know, electricity isn’t a thing. And so, please go slower.” And then he released him, and that is where they believe the day comes from. The… uh, as far as… in its longevity, um… and its consistency, I suppose, being where they are at—near the equator. Um… but yeah! That one always stuck with me, mostly because we would just see this massive woodcarving over, um… in the foyer of this restaurant. [unintelligible] is always… like, like right in the middle of the hotel. Um… but I always… I always loved the Hawaiian myths, I suppose. I think they’re very…  mythology in general, I mean, is just fascinating…

Informant Commentary:

James has a general interest in religious folklore, especially the folklore of those places he has personally visited. He expressed a positive view of folklore in Hawaii, citing institutional efforts of preservation and respect, such as laws surrounding burial grounds and other sacred land, as well as the consistent invocation of traditional Hawaiian symbolism around government buildings and tourist areas (e.g., the statue mentioned in the transcript). When countered on this idea, James acknowledged that many of these efforts are, in his words, “performative”. 


This story is best categorized as a myth, as it is a creation story and an explanation of a natural phenomenon: the length of the days. Based solely on the narrative of the story, the myth of Maui harnessing the sun seems to reference a fundamental trust in deities to intervene on behalf of man, even capturing one of the (if not the single most) powerful natural force.

Ghost Story: Cursed Tomb

Main Piece: 

“If there’s a woman and she’s pregnant with a kid, if she dies and gets buried, there’s a possibility that the kid is still alive. The tomb will be cursed and the kid will still live and grow and live in the tomb. And the village where the tomb is won’t receive any rain for many years.”


My informant said that this was a folk belief that he had heard, like a ghost story, growing up in China. The informant had little personal relationship to this story, but had heard it repeatedly from a variety of ages. It seemed more region-specific than specific to another group. He offered interpretations of the story both as a regular “spooky story” to tell and as a folk belief in farmers to help avoid or explain away destitute lands. 


Ghosts are often reflections of what a culture considers unfinished business or a scar from the past. It’s likely that in this case, we’re seeing part of a natural grieving process for the loss of both the pregnant woman and the unborn child. Because there is a feeling of doubled loss, a supernatural consequence may feel necessary. Additionally, there’s a strong sense in this story that the natural order is being disrupted. Pregnancy is supposed to lead to new life, but it is disrupted here and ends in death. As a consequence, the natural order of the weather is equally negatively disrupted. The curse on the tomb is a curse of no rain and thus no crops.