Tag Archives: Customary

Program Cheer

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE ITEM:

  • Customary Folklore – Tradition
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Informant: Derek Willson
  • Date Collected: 11/10/19

INFORMANT DATA:

  • Derek Paul Willson is an active member of the Dartmouth Men’s Ultimate Frisbee B Team, known by its name, Discomfort Trolly; commonly known as Disco Troll. He is a member of the class of 2022, and he has been playing frisbee since his freshman fall at Dartmouth in 2018. Born on December 17, 2000, he is from Skylerville, NY. His favorite frisbee throwing technique is the hammer throw.

CONTEXTUAL DATA:

Cultural Context: 

  • The program cheer is a cheer that players across all teams know. This is taught to the rookies at the end of their first year at the program banquet and performed when the program is together at mixed games and tournaments. Additionally it is performed before big games on individuals teams (i.e. men’s and women’s). There are several rules for performing the program cheer, including requirements that one must either have their hat off or be wearing it backwards and a requirement that everyone must be holding the same frisbee while the cheer is performed. The program cheer is also a secret, known only to the members of the frisbee team.

Social Context: 

  • This ritual was documented in a one-on-one interview in Novack. This item of folklore brings the whole program together because it is unique to frisbee. Unlike ultimate frisbee sideline cheers, which often vary across teams, the program cheer is something the entire program knows. Additionally, it fosters a sense of community within class years because, other than one night a year for banquet, one is only permitted to to discuss the cheer with students in your class year. If a class is unable to memorize and piece together the program cheer during the school year, they must wait until banquet to speak to upperclassmen about it.

ITEM: 

  • Program Cheer

Recording

TRANSCRIPT: 

  • “Ok so the Program Cheer, we only really talk about it at Program Banquet at the end of the year unless you’re with other people of your class year. During it you’re supposed to have the program disc, have your hat off or backwards and have one thumb on the disc and if there’s too many people you have to touch someone who’s touching it [the disc]. It’s always funny with first years or rookies because they don’t know any of it cause you only really learn it at banquet unless somehow some other rookie knows it. You kinda just like AAAAAAA [screams] through the whole thing because you have no idea what it is. That’s always a funny thing.”

INFORMANT’S COMMENTS:

  • “It’s something that brings classes closer together because you can only talk about the words of it with members of your own class”

COLLECTOR’S COMMENTS: 

  • This cheer is standard in many ways but has a few particular points that make it unique. The fact that freshmen are not allowed to know the lyrics until the Banquet their freshman year makes this cheer an initiation ritual. Specifically, learning the cheer could be described as a rite of transition or incorporation – making the switch from a partial to a full fledged team member.
  • Because the cheer is known and performed only by upperclassmen, it holds an exclusionary aspect. Only once a team member is granted the privilege and knowledge for the cheer does the member achieve full status as a frisbee team player. Prior to the rookies learning it, they are told to scream and yell whenever it is performed so they are unable to learn it throughout the year.
  • Because the cheer is a secret, we were not able to document the words to it. However, even though we are unable to record the cheer itself, we can still analyze the context in which it is performed and the social and cultural dynamics around its performance, which we have done here. The surrounding dynamics of the cheer are very informative to frisbee culture despite the fact that we cannot know the cheer itself.
  • There is not really any pattern or meaning to the nonsensical cheer/noise made by those who do not know the cheer lyrics. The only purposes of the noise made is to contribute to the overall volume and intensity of the cheer as well as make it harder to hear the actual cheer lyrics to prevent outsiders from learning the words

COLLECTOR’S NAME: 

  • Luke Cuomo and Annett Gawerc

 

Greetings

Title: Greetings

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary folklore: custom
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up there until coming to Dartmouth.

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Contextual data:

  • Social context: It is part of local speech to show respect by calling people older than you. It is also customary to give a kiss on the cheek because people are very affectionate. It is also considered dirty and disrespectful to wear shoes in the house.
  • Cultural context: The cheek kiss is similar to the traditional greeting (honi) where two people share a breath in through the nose to say hello. Aunty and Uncle in pidgin were taken from English. They were understood to mean elders or other adults, not specifically blood relatives. The practice of not wearing shoes inside is likely derived from Japanese culture.

 

Item:

  • The custom to greet someone in Hawaii today is a cheek to cheek kiss. Most elderly are referred to “aunty” or “uncle” rather than a “Mr…. or Mrs….”. It is customary to remove your shoes before entering a house.

 

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

Lehua

Title: Lehua Blossom

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and Verbal folklore: Superstition and homeopathic magic
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up there until coming to Dartmouth.

 

Contextual data:

  • Social context: You might blame someone in a joking way that they caused bad weather, or account for unexpected rain with someone picking the flower
  • Cultural context: The flower is considered a symbol of Pele, and with homeopathic magic, it is connected to her. It is considered disrespectful to Pele to pick the flower which represents Pele.

 

Item:

  • The Lehua blossom, or flower is a red flower indigenous to Hawaii. It is rooted in Hawaiian legend, where Ohia and Lehua were both young lovers. Pele, the goddess of volcanoes/lava wanted ohia for herself but he refused. She turned Ohia in to a tree and Lehua in to the beautiful red flower out of anger and detail. It is said that as long as the flowers stay on the tree it will be a beautiful sunny day but as soon as the flowers are picked, it will begin to rain as Lehua can stand to be away from her lover.

 

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

Lei

Title: Lei

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and material folklore: custom, arts, clothing
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up their until coming to Dartmouth.

 

Contextual data:

  • Social context: fiving is a way that people adorn others for congratulations or aloha (love). Often times when someone accomplishes something great or are celebrating something important.
  • Cultural context: The lei is a symbol of festivity, accomplishment, and happiness and marks someone who is loved or important. It is a custom because leis are carefully crafted and beautiful adornments and because they are time consuming to make, are only for special occasions.

 

Item:

  • The act of lei (flower necklace) giving. The act of lei (flower necklace) fiving is a way that people adorn others for congratulations or aloha (love). Often times when someone accomplishes something great or are celebrating something important.

 

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

Blessing

Title: Blessing

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary folklore: custom
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up their until coming to Dartmouth.

Contextual data:

  • Social context: A blessing is a rite of passage and social ceremony.
  • Cultural context: Blessing a place uses magic to expel bad spirits or energy and cleanse the area to have good energy. The ancient tradition has been carried down for generations.

Item:

  • When a new business, school, or establishment opens in the islands it is almost always along with a blessing ceremony where a kahu, or Hawaiian priests, blesses the place.

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

 

The Salty Dog Rag

General Information about Item:

  • Genre (Subgenre): Customary Folklore (Dance)
  • Language: English
  • Country/State: United States/New Hampshire

Informant Data:

  • Senior (Class of 2018) from New Jersey
  • First participated in trips his freshman year (Fall 2014)
  • Led climb and hike trip during Fall 2017 term

Contextual Data:

  • Social context: The Salty Dog Rag is a customary dance led by trip leaders and Croo members and performed by large groups of first year students shortly after they assemble at Robinson Hall after arriving to campus. Most of the students do not know each other or any of the upperclassmen.
  • Cultural context: The dance is supposed to help first-year students embrace the novelty and unfamiliarity of college in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, as most people (especially upperclassmen) look silly performing the dance.

Item:

  • The Salty Dog Rag is a whimsical dance that involves a lot of awkward motion while silly music is playing loudly.

Transcript of Informant Interview:

  • “You do the Salty Dog Rag before even meeting your trip leaders, so most of the freshmen don’t really know any upperclassmen, and they’re just dancing in a large mob.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The informant highlighted the Salty Dog Rag as a sort of introduction to trips, wherein new members were initially exposed to what is probably the most iconic dance of trips lore.

Collector’s Comments:

  • The informant fondly recalled both his memory of observing first-years perform the dance this fall and his memory of performing the dance as a first-year himself.

Collector’s Name: Abhishek Bhargava

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary, Tradition, Song/Dance, Salty Dog Rag

Ritual – Down the Line Fist Bump

Title: Down the Line Fist Bump

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Customary
    • Subgenre:   Ritual, Tradition
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: USA

Informant Data: Will Kaufman ’20 is a 19-year-old male caucasian light-weight rower from Boulder, CO. He is the middle child between two sisters. He started rowing his freshman fall upon entering Dartmouth. As a walk-on rower, he came in knowing nothing about the sport.

Contextual Data: 

Social Context: Like most, race-day rituals, this Down the Line Fist Bump is primarily taught inside the boats. The rowers line up before readying up for the race, and before they begin competing, they send a fist bump from the stern to the bow (front to back), in order to motivate each rower and encourage them.

Cultural Context: Like most of the folklore of the D150 Team, this piece focuses on fostering team unity and bolstering motivation. It unites both new and experienced rowers who are in the same boat with the same sending of the fist bump continuously from front to back. In addition, it encourages newer rowers like Will, who may be nervous about their early competitions.

Item: This item is a customary piece of folklore that helps build team unity and motivates/encourages the rowers to try their best. It is customary because it is a single practiced ritual that happens every race in the same way that involves the same people in every boat. It is folklore because it is performed by all the members of this folkgroup in their respective boats and celebrates their commonalities (in this case, them being in the same boat).

Associated media:

 

Transcript (4:04 – 5:15):

WK: “When we’re all lined up ready to go, we typically just, like, start from stern to bow, um just send back a fist bump. So, uh, like, I don’t know, stroke will be uh just, turn around and fist bump seventh seat, and seventh seat fist bumps sixth seat and just send it down to bow. Just to kinda get everyone hyped up and ready to go… and uh I don’t know, just ‘hey, we’re all in this together, let’s go row.'”

BC: “So for something like that, right, like, when you first kinda encountered that, what was that like? Did you just kinda, sit down and did someone tell you, ‘hey, we’re gonna do this,’ or did you just know to do it instinctually?”

WK: “Uh… I mean, I knew to receive the fist bump instinctually, but uh… I forget who it was, probably… who was it…. it might have been Jason Auh, who was a ’17, or someone else. But, like I, uh, took the fist bump and was like, ‘Oh yeah, cool, ready to go,” but then he told me to send it back, and that kinda clicked in my head, ‘Oh, hey it’s a whole boat thing.’ So it’s just like everyone is like getting together and like focusing before the race starts.”

BC: “Right, right.”

WK: “So after the first time, it was pretty clear. Okay, fist bump forward, fist bump back.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • Sending “The Fist Bump” is interesting to study because it as simple as it seems, it still provides motivation for each of the rowers, both inexperienced and experienced. This unifying gesture shows the usages/importance of folklore to folk groups, especially when it comes to differentiation of their groups v. others.

Collector’s Name: Brian Chekal

Ritual – Sprints Night

Title: Sprints Night

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Customary
    • Subgenre:   Ritual, Ceremony
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: USA

Informant Data: Wyatt Smith ’19 is a 20-year-old male caucasian light-weight rower from Hong Kong. He is a long-time rower, having rowed competitively before Dartmouth, and was recruited to Dartmouth’s D150 Lightweight Rowing team.

Contextual Data: 

Social Context: Races are incredibly competitive for lightweight rowing, mainly because the team competes directly with other college teams and because all the weekly practices/weight cutting is in preparation for these races. To relieve the pressure, and celebrate the completion of a season, rowers all join together to observe Sprints Night.

Cultural Context: Sprints Night is a regular ritual that occurs every year after the New England Championships to celebrate the ending of another successful season and to build team unity. It is observed by all members of D150 and is passed down from each generation to the next.

Item: This item is a customary piece of folklore that focuses on the passing down of a ritual that is suppose to help build team unity and celebrate the conclusion of another successful racing season. It is customary because it is a single practiced ritual that happens every year in the same way that involves many different people within the folk group. It is folklore because it is performed by all the members of this folkgroup and celebrates their commonalities.

Associated media:

Transcript (8:49 – 8:58):

WS: “We have a thing called Sprints Night which is after our New England Championships, where we have a sort of, like a big team party, get-together.”

BC: “And that also happens like every single year after the last championships…”

WS: “Every year, yeah.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • Sprints Night is very similar to Freshmen Fun Night in that the sharing and passing down of this ritual focuses on all members of the folk group. All members of D150 crew participate in this ritual and it helps remind them of who they are and why they are similar to each other (celebrating the end of their common season). This also reinforces the ritual itself because a stronger more unified team is more likely to want to participate in these pan-folk group rituals and to preserve them.

Collector’s Name: Brian Chekal

Weight-cutting rituals

Title: Weight-cutting rituals

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Customary Folklore
    • Subgenre: Ritual
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: USA

Informant Data: Will Allan ’18 is a 21-year-old white male from Southhampton, New York. He has two brothers, a mother, and a father. He has been rowing for eight years and has been rowing light-weight crew since being recruited for college.

Contextual Data:

Social Context: For many people, the need to cut weight to be eligible to row for light-weight crew begins in college. Older members of the team, captains, coaches, and alumni teach new members what strategies work and do not work, acting as a resource for the freshmen. Although weight-cutting is a solitary, individual process, there are many components of the ritual that involve others. For example, the team eats together at the dining hall, and upperclassmen guide freshmen through dietary choices in the space. Freshmen are encouraged to heed the advice “because the way they cut weight impacts the performance of the team.” Rituals such as restricting certain foods and liquids, sweating together, spitting, and urinating are all performed with the purpose of creating a qualified team for competition.

Cultural Context: Weight-cutting rituals are not only to qualify the team but also promote bonding through hardship among the teammates. Additionally, while no one (including the coaches) wants the athletes to damage their health and go below “normal weight,” the athletes often must do it in order to fit into the category of light-weight crew. The maximum weight limit of 150 lbs is thought to have been created to separate lighter men from heavier men, eliminating the advantage in the boat for lighter men. That standard has expanded to 165 lbs, although the name D150 references the original limit sticking with sport tradition. Weight-cutting might not have been as significant in the past, as people might have only maintained low weight rather than changed their weight.

Item: To be allowed to compete as a light-weight rower, athletes must prove that they are of a low maximum weight preceding a race by recording their weight at Weigh-In usually at 5PM on Fridays. There are many strategies for cutting weight, and they all depend on the person. If an athlete only needs to cut a little weight, he can simply have a light breakfast and restrict fluid intake. If an athlete needs to cut more, he might limit or eliminate sodium and carbohydrate intake three to four days preceding Weigh-In and flush out those chemicals by drinking lots of water. Constant urination and sweating are used to eliminate water from the body to lower weight. On the day of Weigh-In, an athlete might have light, calorie-rich foods.

Informant’s Comments:

  • Athletes have about three days of eating what they want before they have to start thinking about the next Weigh-In.
  • “As soon as you’re done [weighing in], the goal is to get back to your normal weight.” Athletes immediately eat and drink everything they couldn’t eat before and recover before the race.
  • The team glorifies heavy athletes to make them feel better about doing more work to cut weight, calling them “Thicc boiz.” They are viewed as heroic and impressive.

Collector’s Comments: It seems antithetical for the athletes to have to cut weight so drastically if they are only going to gain weight again before the race even happens. The goal of weight cutting is to satisfy an arbitrary standard (expressed by informant) set by a rowing organization in order to be qualified to race, but the weight doesn’t actually impact performance. Further, athletes are weakest when cutting weight, so they feel the need to gain weight again before the race.

Collector’s Name: Sam Gochman

Tags/Keywords: D150, Dartmouth Light-Weight Rowing, weight-cutting, ritual

Post-practice chant

Title: Post-practice chant

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Verbal and Customary Folklore
    • Subgenre: chant
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: USA

Informant Data: Will Kaufman ’20 is a 19-year-old male caucasian light-weight rower from Boulder, CO. He is the middle child between two sisters. He started rowing his freshman fall upon entering Dartmouth. As a walk-on rower, he came in knowing nothing about the sport.

Contextual Data:

Social Context: The chant occurs at the end of each practice. It involves a huddle, hands in toward the center, one person leading the chant, the whole team responding, throwing up the hands, and breaking from the circle. Afterwards, teammates go to dinner together, take showers, or split up. The coaches are not involved in the chant.

Cultural Context: In the athletic team culture, everything is about the group, not the individual. The rowers are a cohesive group that spend a significant amount of time together in the effort of creating strong bonds and success in competition. This chant helps bring everyone together at the end of practice to show that they are part of one team with the same goals. Their effort is beyond one practice or one individual.

Item: This chant occurs at the end of each practice. In a huddle the teammates put their hands in toward the center, recite the chant, throw up their hands, and break up.

Associated media:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaI34nMCWuc

Transcript of Associated File: “Let’s get a ‘Green’ on 3! 1, 2, 3 GREEN!”

Informant’s Comments: The informant emphasized the regularity and importance of this chant: “It feels weird if practice ends and everyone leaves” without doing the chant. That never happens.

Collector’s Comments:

  • The chant is a formal indicator of the end of a routine time of bonding.
  • The informant noted that when first learning this chant, the walk-on rowers are separated from the rest of the team, learn the chant, and are incorporated with the rest, where the entire team can perform the chant together. In this way, the events centered around the first chant resemble elements of a rite of passage.

Collector’s Name: Sam Gochman

Tags/Keywords: D150, Dartmouth Light-Weight Rowing, Chant, Customary, Verbal