Tag Archives: annual

Loggers Jamboree Folk Tradition

Nationality: American
Primary language: English
Age: 58
Occupation: Insurance salesman
Residence: Mercer Island, WA


As a kid, MD’s grandpa took him to the Loggers’ Jamboree every year. His grandpa had been a logger for a long time, and this was a yearly tradition where local loggers got together to celebrate. There were tons of competitions, all of which MD’s grandpa participated in and usually won at. They had competitions where two men would get on a log with spiked shoes and they tried to roll each other off into the water. MD’s grandpa couldn’t swim, so it was kind of scary for MD to watch. There were also competitions where teams of two men competed to see who could chop down trees the fastest. They had old fashioned saws that had a handle for each man. They also had arm wrestling.


MD’s grandpa took him to the Loggers’ Jamboree every year from when he was 4 to when he was 8. These memories bring him a lot of joy. It made him feel like his grandpa was like Superman because he always won. MD didn’t have much to say on the meaning of the tradition besides that it was a way for loggers to connect.


Logging is both a niche profession and one that is traditionally associated with masculinity. As such, the Loggers’ Jamboree is a perfect way for this folk group to get together and share what they have in common. These competitions showcase that loggers value strength, persistence, and strategy, which are traits often tied to manhood. To be strong is often to be masculine, especially in folk groups full of traditionally masculine men. Whoever is strongest is the winner, further showcasing the importance of strength and persistence in the logging career. The tree-cutting competition seems to value cooperation and teamwork. After all, a long saw cannot be used by a single man–there must be two. Whichever team cuts the tree fastest is the winner, showcasing that speed and cooperation are equally important in logging. This seems to represent a value of brotherhood amongst loggers–they must be strong together. Since logging is a niche tradition, I would argue that the Loggers’ Jamboree is also a way to celebrate rare skills shared amongst a small folk group. Not everyone understand what it is to be a logger or the skills necessary to do the job, so celebrations of this field help reinforce the job’s value within the folk group. This is similar to the firefighters in Chapter 4 of Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An Introduction (Oring, McCarl). This event wasn’t just closed to loggers, though–MD was invited, too. It seems that this logging celebration also celebrates the loved ones of loggers, inviting them to share in a niche culture and enjoy its games without its struggles.

Christmas Ornament Tradition

Nationality: American
Primary language: English
Age: 18-22
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA


Before Christmas every year, each person in EB’s immediate family buys an ornament that represents their year. For example, when she graduated high school, her ornament was a graduation cap. There was one year where she played soccer all year, so she got a soccer themed ornament. After EB and her family decorate the Christmas tree, they all get their new ornaments and hang them together as a family.


EB isn’t sure when her family started this tradition, but knows her parents have a wedding ornament to represent the year they got married. She thinks this might be the start of it, but it’s possible that her mom did this with her family before that. EB believes that the ornaments represent the passage of time. The tradition makes her happy and maybe a little nostalgic, especially when she looks at ornaments from when she was young (simpler times). EB thinks that having all the ornaments on the tree together seems to represent their collective experience as a family and what they’ve gone through together. It’s a tree that celebrates accomplishments and what they’ve done with their lives so far. Doing this together shows that they go through life together as a family and are celebrating each other’s accomplishments.


I support EB’s analysis of her family’s tradition, especially in regards to the passage of time. “Rites of passage” and change are important in all communities, and one extremely common instance of this is the transition into a new year. Christmas is the last major holiday for families to come together before New Year’s Eve, and as such, it offers up an opportunity for reflection on the year. Boiling all of one’s experiences down into a single object–in this case an ornament–can help people quantify their experiences, understand them, and represent them. For example, in our in-class exercise where everyone brought a tourist object, many people expressed the object’s importance in terms of how it reminded them of a happy trip/experience. In the same way, EB’s family’s ornaments serve this purpose, but instead of reminding them of one trip, they remind them of a whole year! Furthermore, as EB mentioned, this exercise brings them together as a family unit. They’re all living their own years, but they can come together and celebrate them as a whole by partaking in this tradition together. This reemphasizes the importance of their folk group (a family unit) while still celebrating individual experience and change.

Carnaval Brazilian Festival

Informant: Carnaval, the most famous Brazilian Festival. You probably know it. Huge party every year. In Carnaval you play music in groups and do specific group dancing. its about celebrating your community and having fun with others around you.

Context: My informant was born in Brazil and spent the majority of his childhood there. Obviously he celebrated the Carnaval every single year. He would go with his family and dance all night and all day and listen to good music and eat good food. He hasn’t been back to Brazil in quite some time so he is looking forward to that.

Analysis: It is always interesting looking at the holidays of other cultures. You start to see the differences and similarities between what they celebrate it and why. Most American holidays are celebrated because of some holy person or because some tragedy that led us to being American. I quit like how this holiday according to my informant is just celebrating the community and having good times with everyone close by.

Facebook Senior Names


My informant, AK, is a 19 year old student at the University of Michigan. She was born and raised in Southern California and is studying engineering. While in high school, AK was an active member and team captain of her school’s swim team. She attended the school from kindergarten until she graduated and knew the place inside and out. (I’ll be referring to myself as SW in the actual performance).


AK: For as long as I can remember, it’s been tradition at our high school to make a fake name on facebook for senior year. Everyone would make a pun based off their name, referencing a movie or celebrity. When it first started, it was to protect people’s identities, so that of prospective colleges looked up students on facebook, they wouldn’t find their page. By the time we were seniors, there wasn’t really a need to do this because it was general knowledge that colleges didn’t really care, but our grade kept on with the tradition anyways.


It’s interesting to understand where some aspect of folklore comes from, and to see how its meaning has changed over time. What started as a superstition morphed into a tradition that stood to be a rite of passage. Kids as early as freshman year would begin to think about their senior name, anxious to be done with high school and on their way to college. Senior names were a way of expressing yourself, while also engaging in a unifying experience across the grade.

Trip to the Sea

Main Piece
John Ledyard was a Dartmouth student, and he paddled a canoe from Dartmouth, all the way to the ocean. So every year now since then, we do something called the “Trip to the Sea”, where they model his journey, and you canoe from Dartmouth down the Connecticut river out to the Atlantic Ocean, over by Connecticut.

The informant was a student at Dartmouth College, where she observed this tradition taking place. She did not participate in the tradition, but knew closely someone who did. Dartmouth College is situated high on the Connecticut River, which drains out south through Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and then to Connecticut, connecting it with the Atlantic Ocean.

The informant is a 23-year-old women, born and raised in Southern California. She graduated Dartmouth College in 2018, having attended since 2014. This information was provided to me while seated outside her family home in Palm Springs, California, on April 20th, 2019.

I would love to claim to want to participate in this tradition, but after consulting a map, I don’t think I would want to. The trip is really long, spanning four different states! However, I love that this tradition has continued and that they do it every year! I think that the students who complete the Trip to the Sea must feel very proud and accomplished, and I bet receive great respect from other students. This seems typical of Dartmouth – they seem to have many outdoor activities and traditions, probably from being so isolated up in the woods! I also find it interesting that this John Ledyard has two seperate traditions rooted with his name at Dartmouth – must have been very influential. According to the additional research I did in the Dartmouth Folklore Collection, this ritual has a further tradition: the participants row nude through Hartford, Connecticut, until they reach the city boundaries. It is also only the seniors who take part in the trip – making the ritual into something looked forward to over their Dartmouth career, truly cementing the ritual as a kind of initiation-like ritual, including the students into a longstanding history of others who have completed the trip.

For another collection of this ritual, please see the Dartmouth Folklore Collection. It can be found online, or currently through this hyperlink: https://journeys.dartmouth.edu/folklorearchive/2016/05/27/trips-to-the-sea/