Category Archives: Gestures

House Families

Title: House Families

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore
  • Informant: R.C. ’22
  • Date Collected: 05/19/2020

Informant Data:

  • R.C. is a male student at Dartmouth College. He is affiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Families are small units of close individuals. The adoption of this technique into fraternity culture serves a similar purpose.
  • Social Context: House families are smaller groups in the house new members are sorted in to. These act as smaller and closer social groups for the new members in the house.


  • This specific fraternity gives its new members “families” within its members. These families consist of one to two new members and a handful of older members to serve as a resource during and after the rush process.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found these families to be an interesting and useful way to help new members during the rush process. They stay families for life, long after active membership in the fraternity ends. In this specific example, the family the informant was in was easily dated back to Dartmouth alumni from 2014.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade


  • Customary Lore
  • Family
  • Social

Defense Partners

Defense Partner Handshake

Title: Defense Partners

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, Gestures
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: Canada
  • Informant: Hailey Noronha
  • Date Collected: 2-22-18

Informant Data:

  • Hailey Noronha was born in a town right outside Toronto, Ontario in November,1996. She is a senior at Dartmouth College on the Women’s Varsity Ice Hockey Team. Hailey was the captain on the team this past year and is a sociology major at Dartmouth. She started playing hockey when she was about three years old because of her older brother and dad who played.

Contextual Data: 

  • Cultural Context: When explaining this folklore, Hailey was smiling the whole time and appreciated the bond it created with a girl on the team two years younger than her. They originally started doing this about the first or second game of Hailey’s junior year and Bailee’s freshmen year.
  • Social ContextAfter on-ice warm-ups before the game, the team comes back into the locker room. During this time coach gives a pre-game speech and then leaves. At this time, the team stands up and a lot of people have pre-game rituals and handshakes with other girls on the team. Hailey and Bailee, a sophomore defenseman on the team, perform their handshake at this time. 


  • Bailee Brekke, a current sophomore on the team, and Hailey perform a handshake before going on the ice for the start of the game. Once coach leaves the locker room, Hailey and Bailee find each other and do a high five, then low five, and finally grab hands and bring them to the sky. They then back down low and are ready for the game. 


  • “I can’t stop smiling thinking about our handshake–It puts me in the right mindset before the start of the game!”

Collector’s Name: Sarah Tabeek


  • Customary Lore
  • Gesture
  • Defense Partner Handshake

My Little Tea Pot

Title: My little tea pot

Informant data:

  • Chlöe Conacher was born on May 9, 1997. She grew up in Toronto Ontario and currently lives in the Bay Area California. She has an older brother and a younger sister. She went to a private school in Canada for the first half of her life but then went to a private high school in California. Her parents are both Canadian. Chlöe is majoring in neuroscience and has an interest in soccer dancing and art. She currently attends Dartmouth College and is in the class of 2019.

Contextual context:

  • Social Context:
    • While telling me this nursery rhyme Chlöe was extremely happy and excited. This was one of her favorite nursery rhymes as a child. She heard this nursery rhyme from her parents. She also heard and shared this nursery rhyme during family reunions and holidays. She has many younger cousins and so every time their family would gather she would play with them and sing nursery rhymes- Little Tea Pot was a favorite.  Chlöe didn’t just sing this nursery rhyme, she performed it as well. While singing the short song she would act out motions. She would place one arm on her hip and one hand bent over and away from her head like a tea kettle spot. She would then embody the tea kettle and bend her body to the side and act as though she was pouring tea out of her spout. As she grew up she would teach her little cousins this and watch them dance along to the rhyme
  • Cultura Context:
    • When Chlöe was little the nursery rhyme was just a fun game to play with her family and friends. She used to get excited when she heard the tune of this song come one because she loved the dance and the actions that go with it so much. She continues this tradition of singing and dancing to this rhyme with her cousins. The last time she heard this was the summer of 2017 when she had a family reunion and her “little cousins tried to master and perform the dance for the older cousins.” Today the nursery rhyme has less of a literal meaning but more of an underlying meaning. Today she remembers this as a song that brought her family together and allowed them to enjoy each other’s company.



“I’m a little tea pot short and stout, here is my handle and here is my spout.

When I get steamed up hear me shout, tip me over and pour me out!”

Informant Opinon:

Although this is a short song to sing and an easy one to learn she enjoyed the simplicity it brought to her families lives. She understands that this could be considered a basic nursery rhyme as other families might perform these traditions as well, but to her this was all about family and getting together.

Collectioner’s opinion:

She grew up around this folklore and she grew up sharing this piece of rhyme with so many of her family members that it doesn’t matter if this is a classic American nursery rhyme. The unique value it holds to her is indicative of how each nursery rhyme means something different to every person who is involved in sharing this nursery rhyme.

Collected by Avery Schuldt