Category Archives: Celebrations

Fraternity Rush Party Themes

Title: Fraternity Rush Party Themes

General Information about Item:

  • Customary/Material Folklore
  • Informant: W.M.
  • Date Collected: 05/25/2020

Informant Data:

  • W.M. is a male Dartmouth College student. He is unaffiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: The celebration of new members into a fraternity is celebrated amongst the brothers in a social event open to campus as well. The celebrations include a theme, sometimes a traditional theme of the house or decided on each year. Members of the house, new and old, dress in costumes in accordance with the theme and celebrate together.
  • Social Context: Social gathering is a common event put on by a fraternity and open to the campus. In these instances, a theme for the party is decided on by the house and is put on, usually around the end of the rush process.

Item:

  • Many fraternities hold social gatherings before, during, and after the rush process. It is common for these to have themes decided on by the members, new and old, of the house hosting the gathering. Typically the new members are celebrated as the members all dress in costume and decorate the house for the gathering.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found this tradition to be an interesting custom as it is open to non-members. The fraternity members are typically the ones deciding and dressing in theme, but then they open up the celebration to the campus as well.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade

Tags/Keywords:

  • Celebration
  • Costumes
  • Fraternity

Joint Rush Parties

Title: Joint Rush Parties

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore
  • Informant: E.W. ’22
  • Date Collected: 05/22/2020

Informant Data:

  • E.W. is a female Dartmouth Student. She is affiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Fraternities and Sororities at Dartmouth both partake in rush and bid night parties. These are parties for the new members of their respective houses. Sometimes a Fraternity and Sorority will together throw a joint party for their new members.
  • Social Context: The celebration of new members of a house is usually some form of social gathering. The combining of two different houses for a social gathering meant for the new members is a common social practice.

Item:

  • The joint parties of a Fraternity and Sorority refer to parties thrown by two houses together to celebrate their new class of members. These are therefore much larger and grander than celebrations done just by members of the house themselves. 

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found this to be a cool tradition as it mixes the somewhat separate processes of rushing a Fraternity versus a Sorority.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Lore
  • Celebrations
  • Fraternity/Sorority

The Late Bride

Title: The Late Bride

General Information about Item:

  • Family Lore, Late Bride
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam
  • Informant: Alexis Le
  • Date of Event: September 1, 2017

Informant Data:

  • Alexis was born June 22, 2000 in Naperville, Illinois. She is a senior at Metea Valley High School. Alexis and her sister were raised Catholic, but her family is not strict when it comes to upholding Catholic traditions. She is Vietnamese. Alexis’s mother is from Saigon and her father is from Hanoi. The majority of Alexis’ immediate family now lives in the United States.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: The women helped the bride get ready on her wedding day. This included Alexis, her aunts, cousins, mother, and grandmother. It is a wedding tradition within Alexis’ family for the bride and the rest of the women to show up to the wedding venue extremely late. That day they showed up one and a half hours late.

Item:

  • The folklore collected here is Alexis’ family’s tradition of the bride and women showing up to the wedding venue extremely late. This started when Alexis’ great-great-great grandmother showed up to her wedding four hours late due to flooding. Since then, it’s become a joke in their family for the bride to be intentionally late. I interviewed Alexis over the phone and took notes on what she told me about the folklore. These data are not direct quotes from Alexis but are rewritten from my notes to create organized content.

Collector’s Name: Claire Burner

Tags/Keywords:

  • The Late Bride
  • Family lore

Chest of Wine and Letters

Title: Chest of Wine and Letters

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, Chest of Wine and Letters
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam
  • Informant: Alexis Le
  • Date of Event: September 1, 2017

Informant Data:

  • Alexis was born June 22, 2000 in Naperville, Illinois. She is a senior at Metea Valley High School. Alexis and her sister were raised Catholic, but her family is not strict when it comes to upholding Catholic traditions. She is Vietnamese. Alexis’s mother is from Saigon and her father is from Hanoi. The majority of Alexis’ immediate family now lives in the United States.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: This Vietnamese wedding tradition of writing letters and placing them in a locked chest with wines represents the solidifying of the relationship. Reading the letters on their anniversary is supposed to remind them of how they felt about each other on their wedding day and symbolizes revitalized love.
  • Social Context: During Alexis’s aunt’s wedding ceremony, instead of trading traditional vows the bride and groom write letters to each other and place them inside of a locked chest. The chest also contains two bottles of wine, one that they will drink on their five-year anniversary and the other on their ten-year anniversary. They will also read each other’s letters on their ten-year anniversary.
    .

Item:

  • The folklore collected here is the Vietnamese wedding tradition of placing letters that the bride and groom wrote to each other in a locked chest with wines that they will drink on their five and ten-year anniversaries. I interviewed Alexis over the phone and took notes on what she told me about the folklore. These data are not direct quotes from Alexis but are rewritten from my notes to create organized content.

Collector’s Name: Claire Burner

Tags/Keywords:

  • Chest of Wine and Letters
  • Vietnamese lore
  • Customary lore

Intimate Moment

Title: Intimate Moment

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, Intimate Moment
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam
  • Informant: Alexis Le
  • DDate of Event: September 1, 2017

Informant Data:

  • Alexis was born June 22, 2000 in Naperville, Illinois. She is a senior at Metea Valley High School. Alexis and her sister were raised Catholic, but her family is not strict when it comes to upholding Catholic traditions. She is Vietnamese. Alexis’s mother is from Saigon and her father is from Hanoi. The majority of Alexis’ immediate family now lives in the United States.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: This is a Vietnamese wedding tradition that represents the bride’s mother’s blessing of the marriage and the giving away of her daughter.
  • Social Context: Before the wedding ceremony begins, the bride’s mother has an intimate moment with all her present daughters. During this moment, the bride’s mother presents the bride with a diamond necklace that she wears as she walks down the aisle.

Item:

  • The folklore collected here is the Vietnamese wedding tradition of the bride’s mother having an intimate moment with her daughters and giving the bride a diamond necklace before the wedding ceremony begins. I interviewed Alexis over the phone and took notes on what she told me about the folklore. These data are not direct quotes from Alexis but are rewritten from my notes to create organized content.

Collector’s Name: Claire Burner

Tags/Keywords:

  • Intimate Moment
  • Vietnamese lore
  • Customary lore

Offerings

Title: Offerings

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, Offerings
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam
  • Informant: Alexis Le
  • Date of Event: September 1, 2017

Informant Data:

  • Alexis was born June 22, 2000 in Naperville, Illinois. She is a senior at Metea Valley High School. Alexis and her sister were raised Catholic, but her family is not strict when it comes to upholding Catholic traditions. She is Vietnamese. Alexis’s mother is from Saigon and her father is from Hanoi. The majority of Alexis’ immediate family now lives in the United States.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: It is a Vietnamese wedding tradition to give offerings to the men in the groom’s family and to the ancestors. By doing this, the families are seeking approval and acceptance of the marriage. A bountiful offering also represents a bountiful marriage.
  • Social Context: Alexis attended the wedding of her Aunt Jennifer at a winery in Kenwood, California. The wedding had the structure of a traditional American wedding, with a ceremony and reception, but it contained many traditional Vietnamese wedding customs. After the rehearsal dinner, the women of the bride’s family give offerings of fruit or platters of food to the men in the groom’s family. There is also an altar for their ancestors that has fruit, water, pastries, and incense.

Item:

  • The folklore collected here is the Vietnamese wedding tradition of giving offerings to the men in the groom’s family and placing offerings on an altar for their ancestors. I interviewed Alexis over the phone and took notes on what she told me about the folklore. These data are not direct quotes from Alexis but are rewritten from my notes to create organized content.

Collector’s Name: Claire Burner

Tags/Keywords:

  • Offerings
  • Vietnamese lore
  • Customary lore

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Title: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Informant: Leona Burner
  • Date of Event: September 22, 1957

Informant Data:

  • Leona was born December 7, 1931. She was raised as a Catholic and attended a Polish Catholic school until she was in fifth grade. Leona’s ancestry is entirely Polish, and her grandparents moved to the U.S. after they got married. Leona’s Polish and Catholic upbringing affected much of her life, including her wedding traditions, current religious beliefs, and her career as an elementary teacher at a Catholic school. Her family moved around a lot because her father was a corporal in the army, and she didn’t have her first permanent home, which was in Bellwood Illinois near Niles, until she was in high school.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: She decided to follow this tradition to honor her husband Jack’s English ancestry and to bring English traditions to the majorly Polish celebration. This tradition comes from an Old English rhyme Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in Your Shoe. These objects are good luck charms for the bride. The something old represents continuity in one’s life, something new represents a positive outlook on the future, something borrowed represents borrowing happiness from a loved one, and something blue means fidelity and love.
    Social Context: I collected this folklore by interviewing Leona over the phone. During her wedding day, Leona followed the English tradition of wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Leona’s something old and borrowed was a pearl necklace from her best friend, the something new was her wedding dress, and her something blue was her lace garter which she still has.

Item:

  • The folklore item collected is how Leona followed the English tradition of having something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue on her wedding day to honor Jack’s English ancestry. I took notes of what Leona told me during my interview with her via a phone call. These are not direct quotes from Leona but rewritten notes from our interview to provide organized content.

Collector’s Name: Claire Burner

Tags/Keywords:

  • Something old
  • Something new
  • Something borrowed
  • Something blue
  • English lore
  • Customary lore

Rehearsal Dinner (Bethany Burns)

Title: Rehearsal Dinner

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, wedding tradition
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Haven Burns
  • Date Collected: 2-21-18

Informant Data:

  • Haven Burns was born on October 12, 1970 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her mother was a schoolteacher and her father was starting his own business at the time. She lived in Chattanooga for the all of her young life, attended college in Knoxville, Tennessee at the University of Tennessee, and then moved around many times from Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, Arizona, and finally settled back in Tennessee. She met her now-husband, Kirk Burns, working at Shaw Carpet Industries in Dalton, Georgia. Kirk lived in Kansas for the majority of his life and attended the University of Kansas before ending up in Georgia. They both shared religious values, attending the Episcopal Church in their youth and beyond.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: At many weddings, the night before the ceremony there is a “rehearsal dinner” for the people participating in the ceremony. Guests include the family of the bride and groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen. At the rehearsal dinner, there is singing and dancing and it is a chance for the bride and groom and friends to celebrate the wedding in a more informal way.
  • Social Context: Haven told me about her rehearsal dinner when I asked if anything about her wedding was particular about the South.

Item:

  • At the rehearsal dinner, Haven wanted to have a hoedown with line dancing, barbeque, and country music to celebrate her southern heritage and welcome her future husband’s family and friends to the south. She said she had her friends and family teach line dancing to her husband’s family.

Collector’s Comments:

  • The informant lit up when asked this question, as it seems that the rehearsal dinner was one of the most fun parts of the wedding.

Collector’s Name: Bethany Burns

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary lore
  • Wedding traditions

Japanese Charm

Title: Japanese Charm

General Information about Item:

  • Sympathetic Magic, Customary Lore
  • Language: Japanese and English
  • Country of Origin: Japan
  • Informant: Akiko Kaput
  • Date of Event: August 29, 1958

Informant Data:

  • Akiko Kaput was born in Yahata, Fukuoka-ken, Kyushu, Japan on October 27, 1935. She was raised as a Buddhist and practiced Buddhism. She met her husband, Roland Kaput, while he was stationed at the Okinawa U.S. air force base from 1956-1957 after the Korean War.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: These charms are usually given to children in a Japanese family when they are very young, not only to represent the connection to your family but also to solidify Japanese beliefs and customs. Japan is a very insular country that places a lot of emphasis on respect, so it was considered dishonorable to Akiko’s family for her to marry an American and not have a Buddhist ceremony.
  • Social Context: I collected this folklore by interviewing Akiko over the phone. This folklore occurred while Akiko was marrying Roland, who was Catholic American citizen After they decided to get married, the paperwork process took about five months because Akiko was a Japanese citizen at the time. This included background checks on her family and several health inspections. Because Akiko was a Buddhist at the time and Roland was Catholic and because of the long paperwork process, they did not have a traditional wedding ceremony of any sort and got married at the U.S. consulate office in Tokyo. She was carrying a small Japanese charm with a bell inside that was handwoven by her mother and given to her when she was young. This type of charm represents family ties and means that you are connected to your family as long as you have it. The reason that Akiko had this charm with her on her wedding day was that her family refused to be there for her because they did not approve of her marrying an American.

Item:

  • Since Akiko’s family refused to be there for her on her wedding day, she carried a handwoven charm, which is symbolic of your family ties, that was given to her when she was young. Although Akiko’s family made it clear that they did not approve, the charm gave her comfort because of her love for her family. I interviewed Akiko over the phone and took notes on what she told me about the folklore. These data are not direct quotes from Akiko but are rewritten from my notes to create organized content.

Collector’s Comments:

  • Akiko is my grandmother. I found this folklore to be very bittersweet because I’ve known that my great-grandparents didn’t approve of Akiko’s wedding to my grandfather, but I did not know that she still decided to carry something from her mother with her.

Collector’s Name: Claire Burner

Tags/Keywords:

  • Japanese charm
  • Sympathetic magic
  • Customary lore

Father Walking the Bride Down the Aisle (Bethany Burns)

Title: Father Walking the Bride Down the Aisle

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, wedding tradition
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Haven Burns and Becky Dagg
  • Date Collected: 2-22-18 and 2-24-18

Informant Data:

  • Becky Dagg was born on September 1, 1972 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her mother was a schoolteacher and her father was the music director at the Church of the Good Shepard. She lived in Chattanooga for the majority of her life, attended college in Auburn, Alabama at Auburn University. She met her husband, Christian Dagg, when she was attending graduate school for architecture at Harvard University. Christian had grown up in Rutland, Vermont, and received his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University. Christian did not come from a very religious family, while Becky’s father was very involved with the Episcopal Church.
  • Haven Burns was born on October 12, 1970 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her mother was a schoolteacher and her father was starting his own business at the time. She lived in Chattanooga for the all of her young life, attended college in Knoxville, Tennessee at the University of Tennessee, and then moved around many times from Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, Arizona, and finally settled back in Tennessee. She met her now-husband, Kirk Burns, working at Shaw Carpet Industries in Dalton, Georgia. Kirk lived in Kansas for the majority of his life and attended the University of Kansas before ending up in Georgia. They both shared religious values, attending the Episcopal Church in their youth and beyond.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: On the wedding day, it is common for the bride to come in last into the ceremony and be escorted by her father. The bride’s father walks her down the aisle to the groom, and then hands her away to watch from the audience.
  • Social Context: For both informants, this piece of folklore was given in response to a question about their family’s involvement in their weddings.

Item:

  • When the bride’s father walks the bride down the aisle at the beginning of the wedding ceremony, he hands her away to the groom once they reach the front of the venue. If the father is unable to complete this task, another important man in the bride’s life completes this task. It is said to symbolize the bride moving from one stage in her life to another with a new man.

Transcript:

  • Becky Dagg: “My dad unfortunately passed away a couple of years before my wedding. It was sad because he never got to meet my husband, but I knew he was there with me in spirit. I had my uncle walk me down the aisle to keep the tradition, but I, of course, wish my father could have been there to celebrate.”
  • Haven Burns: “I will never forget the moment my dad hugged me and we both look teary-eyed into each other’s eyes. He then gave my husband a firm handshake and it was time for me to be married.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • This question was difficult for Becky to answer, as you could see she really wished that her dad could’ve been at her wedding.  This tradition definitely meant a lot to her and to Haven.

Collector’s Name: Bethany Burns

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Lore
  • Father at the wedding