Category Archives: Tradition

Miley Cyrus – “Party in the U.S.A.”

General Information about Item:

  • Music Folklore – Song
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Ziqi Wang
  • Date Collected: 02-23-2018

Informant Data:

  • Ziqi Wang is a male student in the Dartmouth College Class of 2018.  He was born in China and emigrated to the United States when he was 9 years old; he has spent most of his life in the Hanover, NH area, having attended Hanover High School. He studies economics and environmental science at Dartmouth, and intends to pursue a career in business in Boston, MA after graduation. Ziqi has been an active member of Dartmouth’s Club Swim Team since the fall of 2014.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: In order to bolster team spirit and unity, the Dartmouth Club Swim Team has a variety of fun traditions which engage the members in play. This particular ritual has the members of the team sing an adolescent pop song, which has ironically gained fame with the college community, allowing the team to mutually engage in an absurd, almost child-like song. This bonding through humor and adolescent fun helps to solidify the team.
  • Social Context: This musical tradition was explained in a one-on-one interview with the informant at Baker-Berry Library. It is performed before meets, allowing team members to channel any anxiety they may be feeling into a care-free, child-like exercise, relaxing them.

Item:

  • Before meets, members of the Dartmouth Club Swim Team get together to sing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.”

Music Video for “Party in the U.S.A.”:

Transcript:

  • “Before meets, people like to sing this Miley Cyrus song – ‘Party in the U.S.A.’ I forgot exactly how it goes, but it’s a fun, easy way for people to shake off the nerves. They know like, maybe half of the lyrics. It’s such a silly song.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • “It’s a great song, I love it.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • This song is quite catchy

Collector’s Name: Ashwath Srikanth

Tags/Keywords: Music Folklore, Ritual, Miley Cyrus, Swimming

Appalachian Trail Nicknames

Genre Verbal Lore, Traditions, Nicknames

Language English

Country of Origin United States

Informant Jesse Ryan Harris, ‘14

Date Collected March 2, 2018

Collected by Adrian Padilla

Informant Data

Jesse grew up in the Boston area, but would often visit New Hampshire with his family to go on hiking trips. At Dartmouth, he would sometimes hike and ski during terms. Most of his time outdoors was spent doing cabin and trail maintenance for the Dartmouth Outing Club. He had the job for two summers, and spent time on or near the Appalachian Trail. From his many years of experience hiking, and from speaking with his brother Sean (who has also hiked some of the AT), he has learned of the following piece of folklore.

Contextual Data

Hikers often wish to get away from one or many aspects of their lives, including but not limited to: work, interpersonal relationships, or in some cases, even legal trouble. Thus, hiking fosters a culture of anonymity. Because of this, nicknames are an important part of the hiker’s identity. Southbound hikers are often granted further anonymity, since they are unlikely to hike with the same person or people throughout the day, or camp with them for more than one night. A lot of time may pass before Southbound hikers encounter someone who recognizes them. In one extreme case of nickname use, hikers told the story of a man who hiked up and down the Appalachian Trail endlessly. He bought food and supplies with embezzled money, and evaded capture for multiple years by only going by his trail name and being constantly on the move.

Item

Hikers on the Appalachian Trail have nicknames, given to them by other hikers. Hikers will often base nicknames off of one’s appearance or behavior. In most cases, hikers will identify with their nicknames, although often a few options are tried before a name is set in stone. It is up to the hiker to introduce themselves using their nickname.

Origin Of Chicken Mondays

Title: Origin of Chicken Mondays

General Information About this Item:

  • Ritual or Tradition
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant Number: 12
  • Date Collected: 2/23/18

Informant Data:

  • High level manager within DDS. Has been at Dartmouth for nearly 40 years and has worked with the areas today known as the Hop, Collis Cafe, and 53’ Commons.

Contextual Data:

  • Tradition that started in the early 1990s during the tenure of Larry James. Started as the informant began his time in 53’ commons previously known as Thayer Dining Hall. Before the time when the “all-you-can-eat” style of dining was in place.

Item:

  • Customary Lore, the same chicken recipe has been served on Monday for nearly 25 years. Chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and cheese have topped the plates of Dartmouth students every Monday for nearly 3 decades. At one point was attempted to change from Monday to Wednesday, but outcry from the student population has cemented this tradition on Mondays.

Transcript:

“One of the rare culinary traditions that is still practiced today.  Has been a fan-favorite of students for nearly 30 years”

Informant’s Comments:

A great tradition that has been in the Dartmouth food industry for 3 decades.

Collector’s Comments:

  • Clear example of Customary Lore
  • A ritual that has been practiced for a prolonged period of time.
  • We could call this a Dartmouth culinary rite

Collector’s Name: C. Ross Wood

Tags/Keywords:

  • Ritual
  • Customary Folklore
  • DDS

The Quote

Title: The Quote

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal Lore, Proverbs and Famous quotes
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Shannon Ropp
  • Date Collected: 2-22-18

Informant Data:

  • Shannon Ropp was born in Royal Oak, MI. She is currently a junior goalie on the women’s ice hockey team and is an engineering major at Dartmouth. She started playing hockey when she was six because of her older brother. She started off as a figure skater, but coaches told her she skated like a hockey player so she decided to quit and began to play hockey.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Mackenzie St. Onge had this ritual before Shannon. Mackenzie was a very good speaker and loved poetry. She chose Shannon for this job because she is similar to Mackenzie in the sense they are both pretty quiet but have a natural voice for poetry and quotes. Mackenzie passed this down to Shannon after Shannon’s freshmen year on the team when Mackenzie was graduating.
  • Social Context: This tradition is another bequest that has been going back in Dartmouth Women’s ice hockey for many years. Shannon was aware of this when she visited for her official visit senior year of high school. She visited during a game weekend and was able to be apart of the huddle when Mackenzie St. Onge read a quote. When Shannon got this passed down to her after her freshman year, she was honored and excited about this responsibility and freedom to bring a quote form of motivation to the team before every game.

Item:

  • Before we leave the locker room for the start of the game, the team huddles in the center of the locker room. We form a circle surrounding the “D” at the center of the locker room and everyone puts one of their hands in the center. Shannon then has a quote that she has looked up before, and reads it to the team. It can be anything she chooses and she liked to find something that is fitting to this particular game and team they’re playing or just to get the team more pumped up.

 

Transcript:

  • None

Informant’s Comments:

  • “I take a lot of pride in reading the quote before every game. When the girl before me, Mackenzie, read it, it always gave me a lot of inspiration. She was our former captain and it made me realize how cool of a tradition it is.”

Collector’s Name: Sarah Tabeek 

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal Lore
  • Proverb
  • The Quote

 

Cello Taboo and Rite of Passage

Title: Cello Taboo and Rite of Passage

General Information about Item:

  • Taboo folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Lorenz Chen
  • Date Collected: 2-25-18

Informant Data:

  • Lorenz Chen was born in Seattle, Washington, on January 14th, 2000. He grew up in Taiwan and moved back to the United States with his sister, brother, and mother when he was five. His father stayed in Taiwan to teach at a university. He is currently a high school student in Santa Barbara. He began playing the cello when he was eight years old, under the instruction of Ervin Klinkon. His sister and brother also play the cello. At the age of eleven, Lorenz was accepted into the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. He became the principal cellist of the symphony when he was fourteen and has held the position since. In addition, he has headlined several concerts with solo performances.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: In amateur symphonies, new cellists are accepted every year, and they usually stay for a minimum of three years. All cellists, new and experienced, audition annually and are assigned their seating based on their skills. So, the ranking is constantly obvious. The cellist nearest the conductor is most highly ranked and is called the principal cellist, or the first chair. Sharing a stand with the principal is the assistant principal, or the second chair. They’re collectively called “the first stand”. Behind them sits the second stand, behind whom sits the third stand and so on. The hierarchical structure creates competition, but it also ensures uniformity and consistency in how the cello section interprets and plays a piece of music. The primary goal of any section is to sound like a single instrument, so individuality is frowned upon.
  • Social Context: I interviewed Lorenz over the phone, and he told me about a taboo within the cello section: showing off during rehearsal breaks. The taboo was not taught to him by his cello instructor or by the other cellists in his section. He said that he did not know that playing a solo piece was taboo until he stopped doing it. Lorenz said that during a practice one day, he simply stopped feeling the need to show off. It was at that moment that he felt truly incorporated into his section and accepted by the other cellists. As the principal now, Lorenz believes that this taboo works to remove individuality and to promote uniformity and cohesiveness in the section.

Item:

  • It is considered taboo to play an individual piece during break. This is especially a problem for younger players, who are often placed at the back of the section and are eager to demonstrate their skills. They will often practice a concerto or an especially difficult etude.
  • This taboo is also a part of a rite of passage. A new player slowly loses the need to demonstrate his or her skills. When a player finally dedicates rehearsal breaks to practicing the symphonic music, instead of an individual piece of music, he or she is incorporated fully into the cell section and is accepted by the other cellists. Erasing individuality is an essential element of this rite.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file): 

Lorenz Chen performing the Elgar Cello Concerto

 

 

Informant comment:

  • “This is something every cellist, good or bad, does. I’m pretty sure when I join another symphony, I’m going to catch myself showing off during rehearsal breaks.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • As Lorenz’s brother, I realized while speaking with him that, when we were playing in the same symphony, I never tried to stop him from showing off during breaks. When I first joined a symphony, I also had to learn by myself that it was taboo to play an individual piece of music during rehearsals.

Collector’s Name: Vincent Chen

Tags/Keywords:

  • Taboo
  • Rite of passage
  • Cello
  • Symphony
  • New players

 

 

Weekly Meals and Birthday Cakes

Title: Weekly Meals and Birthday Cakes

General Information about Item:

  • Customary folklore, tradition
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Kyle Bensink
  • Date Collected: 2-15-18

Informant Data:

  • Kyle Bensink was born in Victor, New York on August 31, 1998. Although Kyle was born in Victor, his family moved to Rochester—a city adjacent to Victor—when Kyle was just three years old. Ever since then, Kyle and his family have lived in the city. According to Kyle, his family is rather musically talented, and generally interested in the arts. He said that his father is the more musically talented one out of his parents, as his father played the piano, violin, and guitar throughout his lifetime, while his mom was a part of an acapella group in high school and college. In this way, Kyle was extremely susceptible to music from a very early point in his life, as music was a big part of his family’s identity. Kyle first picked up the cello when he was five years old. Currently, Kyle is a freshman at Dartmouth College. At school, Kyle enjoys playing for Dartmouth Symphonic Orchestra (DSO). He plans on majoring in physics and minoring in music.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Within any group of students/peers/friends, there is always some sort of “culture.” Going off of this idea, there definitely is a culture around the Dartmouth Symphonic Orchestra (DSO). Within DSO, there subgroups that are separated by the type of instruments. And each of these subgroups have their own separate identity and culture. As seen through the eyes of a cellists in DSO, the cello section (subgroup) is the tightest group that exists within DSO.
  • Social Context: These items were mentioned when I asked Kyle about any rituals or traditions that the cello section was a part of. At first, he had a hard time coming up with these items, as he was unsure whether the item he had in mind was actually an item that could be used for this project. During the interview, Kyle also talked about how tight the cello section was, as all of the cellists were willing to make plans outside DSO. The weekly meals between stand parents and the birthday cakes probably make the cello section very conducive to becoming friends with each other.

Items:

  • The two items of folklore that Kyle mentioned during the interview were that stand partners get weekly meals throughout the term and that all the cellists chip in to buy a cake from Lou’s when it is someone’s birthday within the section. Apparently, the cello section is the only subgroup within DSO that does this for everyone in the group.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Transcript:

  • “I actually didn’t go on trips. So I did feel a little left out when other freshman came into college already knowing other people, when I did not know a single person on campus. My freshman floor also wasn’t the tightest, so I had a hard time figuring out where I belonged at school. DSO was actually one of the first communities I got involved in. The community that DSO provided made me feel comfortable and supported. Now, I obviously have friends outside DSO, but my closest friend in college is also a cellist with me here.”
  • “My favorite thing about being a cellist in DSO is that the cello section is very tight. Stand partners try to get weekly meals right before or after rehearsals or practices. Of course sometimes it doesn’t work out because everyone is so busy all the time, but we all genuinely want to get meals together.”
  • “Another thing I like is that whenever it is someone’s birthday in the cello section, we buy a carrot cake from Lou’s for that person. It’s so neat that the section never forgets to do this.

Informant’s Comments:

  • This is Kyle’s first year at Dartmouth, and he cannot wait to be a part of the cello section in DSO for all four years of his time in college. He says he really feels at home within his section.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I interviewed Kyle only a few days before the termly DSO concert, which means that he was busy spending a lot of his time at rehearsals and practices with just the cello section in order to prepare for their concert.

Collector’s Name: Junny Lee

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary lore
  • Weekly Meals
  • Birthday Cakes
  • Cello
  • Cellists
  • DSO

Traditional Chinese Meal

Title: Traditional Chinese Meal

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and Sub Genre: Familial Folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: China

Informant Data:

  • Marshall Peng provided us with what his family eats every year for Christmas Dinner. He is 19 years old, currently a ’20 at Dartmouth College and lives in Wisconsin. Both his parents originate from China. Tyler’s family practices Christianity.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: On large holidays families typically have a traditional meal that they will make for that holiday. Christmas is no exception as all of the people we interviewed spoke about a traditional meal that they have every Christmas.
  • Cultural Context: Steamed Dumplings is a very popular Chinese dish. Marshall’s parents are both from China and they brought this traditional meal to the U.S. and incorporated with their celebration of Christmas.

Item:

  • His mother makes his favorite meal, steamed dumplings. She makes this every single year and he has eaten it every Christmas he can remember. It is traditionally a Chinese New Year dish but his mother makes it for Christmas.

Collector’s Name: Clay Chatham

Tags/Keywords:

  • Food, Tradition, Christmas,

Traditional Jamaican Meal

Title: Traditional Jamaican Meal

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and Sub Genre: Familial Folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: Jamaica

Informant Data:

  • Tyler Neath provided us with what his family eats every year for Christmas Dinner. He is 19 years old, currently a ’21 at Dartmouth College and lives in Jamaica. Both his parents originate from Jamaica. Tyler’s family practices Christianity

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: On large holidays families typically have a traditional meal that they will make for that holiday. Christmas is no exception as all of the people we interviewed spoke about a traditional meal that they have every Christmas.
  • Cultural Context: Jerk chicken, cormeny porridge. This is a very popular dish Jamaica.  Tyler and his parents are from Jamaica and they make this meal at home to celebrate Christmas.

Item:

  • His mother makes his favorite meal, Jerk chicken and cormeny porridge for Christmas dinner. She makes this every single year and he has eaten it every Christmas he can remember.

Collector’s Name: Clay Chatham

Tags/Keywords:

  • Food, Tradition, Christmas,

Traditional American Meal 1

Title: Traditional American Meal 1

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and Sub Genre: Familial Folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: United States

Informant Data:

  • Austen Michel provided us with what his family eats every year for Christmas Dinner. He is 20 years old, currently a ’20 at Dartmouth College and lives in Boston Massachusetts. Both his parents are from America. His father is from Boston and mother is from Louisiana. They practice Christianity.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: On large holidays families typically have a traditional meal that they will make for that holiday. Christmas is no exception as all of the people we interviewed spoke about a traditional meal that they have every Christmas.
  • Cultural Context: Eating Chinese food for Christmas dinner is common with families practicing judaism.  This is largely due to the fact that most restaurants close down for the holidays, but those who do not celebrate Christmas remain open.

Item:

  • His family goes to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner. They do this every single year for Christmas.

Collector’s Name: Clay Chatham

Tags/Keywords:

  • Food, Tradition, Christmas,

Traditional Greek Meal

Title: Traditional Greek Meal

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and Sub Genre: Familial Folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: Greece

Informant Data:

  • Katherine Spanos provided us with what her family eats every year for Christmas. She is 19 years old, currently a ’20 at Dartmouth College and lives in Hummelstown Pennsylvania. Her father is from Greece and her mother is from the USA. Her family practices Greek Orthodoxy

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: On large holidays families typically have a traditional meal that they will make for that holiday. Christmas is no exception as all of the people we interviewed spoke about a traditional meal that they have every Christmas.
  • Cultural Context: Pastitsio is a very popular Greek dish. Katherine’s father is from Greece and brought this traditional meal to America. Her father makes this dish for her family to celebrate Christmas

Item:

  • Her father makes her favorite Greek dish, Pastitsio, for Christmas Dinner. He makes this every single year and she has eaten it every Christmas she can remember

 

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Collector’s Name: Clay Chatham

Tags/Keywords:

  • Greek, Food, Tradition, Christmas