The Board Administration Team(hapax, Kit Whitfield and mmy)
A superstition I've found appears to be unique to my family: Never, ever name a child after a living person, because one of them will shortly die.
An ethnic, rather than a local, tradition, but it's been on my mind lately because it's coming up and I haven't done it in years: Erev Yom Kippur. The day before Yom Kippur, you seek out people you've wronged, apologize, attempt restitution if possible, and make charitable donations in their name if not.
I dunno, this is a very transient area. It's hard to build local traditions when the average resident has lived here less than five years. There's a couple local ghost stories, I guess? The Bunnyman Bridge in Loudon (apparently, which bridge it is has moved as the outlying counties have gotten less rural and more suburban), and Point Lookout State Park claims to be the most haunted park in America, but hardly anyone even knows it exists.
Aug 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM
There was a snow leopard that lived in the creek where I went to High School. Never really showed itself, but we knew it was there. Occasionally one of the grade-school kids went missing, and we knew that the snow leopard got him (or her).
I'm not sure whether to call that an urban legend or an inside joke - it had elements of both - but we told each other stories about that snow leopard for a good two years before the school closed.
Michael Mock |
Aug 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Froborr: A superstition I've found appears to be unique to my family: Never, ever name a child after a living person, because one of them will shortly die.
I was told that was a general Jewish thing. Or at least, there was something about not naming kids after living people. Not sure what the reasoning was.
Aug 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I was also told it was a general Jewish thing, but then some Jews have told me they never heard of it. The "or else one will die" appears to be unique to my family, though.
Aug 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Well, it's not unique in the world, but it's a thing I haven't found in other states: when you enter a house, you take off your shoes. It's pretty much common sense in winter, but it carries over to summer.
Aug 24, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Leum- Well, there's still lots of dirt you can track in in the summer. Summer rains often leave mud. And when it's hot, personally, the last thing I want is things on my feet, I lose a LOT of my heat through those.
Ellen Brand |
Aug 24, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Sitting on a cold surface (while fully clothed) causes UTIs. Eating refrigerated foods causes sore throats and common colds, even in summer. The girl who sits at the corner of a table will be an old maid.
Aug 24, 2012 at 03:13 PM
When a group of people were talking, say around the dinner table, and a silence occurred when nobody happened to speak, my grandmother would say "It must be twenty of or twenty after (the hour)." I have no idea where that came from, but we went on saying it (and checking the clock) at moments like that, for years after she died.
If someone dropped a knife she'd invariably say, "A woman with a sharp tongue will be visiting." At which point, one of my aunts would usually wave her hand and say, "It's me! It's me!"-- my aunts not being backwards in expressing their opinions. And I'd think, but you're already here, that's not much of an omen.
Aug 24, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I grew up in northern Canada, where everyone took off their shoes when coming into the house. I'd never made the connection between that and snowy weather, though. But yes, obviously, now that I think of it--we don't track snowy boots indoors (unless you're three years old or it's an epic emergency) so "slip off the footwear" becomes a habit. I generally don't feel like I'm really home and relaxing until I take off my shoes, anyway, these days. Though sometimes as a teenager I'd wear dry (but perhaps dusty) outside shoes indoors.
Actually that's another thing--did anyone else carry "inside shoes" with them to church or school? The mudboots or tough shoes that could get dirty for the trip over, and then nice dress shoes for the event itself? Even men did that when the outdoors was slush and muck. These days I don't bother, but then these days I live where you can wear one pair of loafers outdoors all year round.
Not local, but fannish: I always count the number of cookies/berries/slices of cheese I'm eating. Odd numbers are good, even numbers mean I need to take one more or one less. This comes from Cherryh's atevi, for whom any sequence of two necessarily means there will be a third.
Aug 24, 2012 at 07:05 PM
@Amaryllis: I've heard that "lull 20 minutes before or after the hour" thing before, too. I think it's a semi-common urban legend.
Aug 24, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Yes, I used to carry inside shoes to school and church. Other kids kept them in their lockers--we weren't allowed to wear our boots in school. I longed for the day I'd be old enough to get dress boots to wear to church (Mom wasn't going to go to that expense until my feet stopped growing so quickly) but was very disappointed to find out that dress boots don't keep your feet WARM.
My knees and ankles are now so bad I have to wear shoes (proper shoes, with arch support) all the time or I am in pain. I'm glad I'm the grownup now and can make my own rules about shoes in the house.
Aug 25, 2012 at 06:18 AM
It's a general Ashkenazi thing (the caucasian-looking Jews of Eastern European ancestry), and I can actually tell you the two reasons.
The superstition reason: There will come a day when the Angel of Death picks up his assignment sheet and the name Bob Smith of the Los Angeles Smiths will be on it. The Angel of Death doesn't like his job, he's cranky, and sometimes he acts out. If he can plausibly claim "oh, you meant the 70-year-old Bob Smith, not the 9-year-old? Oops, my bad. I'll go get the one I should have." So now you've lost them both. But if you name the child after someone who died a few years ago, there's a chance (slim, but still a chance) that the angel might see the name on the list and think "already did that, silly clerical error" and not make the pickup.
The cynical reason: Nobody wants to offend Uncle Shishkabob or Grandma Hysterica, but OMG I do not want to saddle my child with that name. Now I've got a graceful way out.
wendy, last of the Eisenhower republicans |
Aug 25, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Setting things on fire - not just kiddie vandalism, but outright fire - on the night before Halloween is apparently very specific to Detroit. When I moved away and called it Devil's Night, no one knew what I meant - some areas know it as Mischief Night or other more innocent names, but it seems the Devil's Night name is pretty geographically specific, and it surprised me to learn that other large-ish cities didn't have to increase fire patrols that week (or organize volunteer groups to keep watch and try to reclaim it with the name "Angel's Night").
Aug 25, 2012 at 09:02 AM
There's a particular Arch in my hometown that's kinda famous and there's a superstition that students at the university should not walk under it until they've graduated. It's old enough and and the custom is strong enough that the steps to either side of the arch have dents at the front from people stepping on them while the steps in front of the arch are in perfect shape.
There's a gag from one Japanese comic I read a while back that sums up why wearing outdoor shoes into the house weirds me out: "What if you stepped in dog doo and never noticed?"
Aug 25, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Thought of a local custom: At the slightest hint of or prediction of snow, no matter how little, people swarm the stores to stock up for a three-week blizzard.
Aug 25, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Ah yes. And for some reason they always buy bread, eggs, milk, and toilet paper. Even people who don't usually eat bread, eggs, or milk will buy bread, eggs, milk, and toilet paper.
People in our area seem to only do that when there is actually snow falling and it is expected to be a lot. And they buy all kinds of groceries.
Aug 25, 2012 at 03:09 PM
OT: Sad news, Neil Armstrong just died at age 82.
Steve Morrison |
Aug 25, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Somewhere, my mom has a photo of little baby me being held up to the TV to watch Neil and Buzz on the moon.
I feel like a part of me has died--I wanted to be Neil Armstrong 'when I grew up'.
Aug 25, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Open-ish thread about space?
Also I was thinking about a thread topic related to ethical shopping.
Aug 25, 2012 at 08:03 PM
There's a particular Arch in my hometown that's kinda famous and there's a superstition that students at the university should not walk under it until they've graduated.
I know where Winter lives! The arch commemorates the "massacre" of Christian missionaries during the Boxer Rebellion.
Mike Timonin |
Aug 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM
@ Mike Timonin:
Sorry, but the Arch I'm thinking of was put up a good forty-odd years before the Boxer Rebellion. The custom apparently started with a guy from Florida who made a vow not to walk under it until he graduated. He got his BS in 1910
Aug 25, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Huh. That's a different arch, but the same tradition. This is the arch I'm thinking of:
and some graduates march under the arch while others refuse to do so, since they do not wish to celebrate the presence of missionaries in China.
Mike Timonin |
Aug 26, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Winter, is the comic with the dog poo gag Azumanga Daioh? I don't remember it specifically but it seems very much like something Osaka's brain would wander into.
Aug 27, 2012 at 08:05 AM
It might be Azumanga Daioh. It does sound rather Osaka-ish, but it's a bit of a pain to look up one gag out of many hundreds.
Aug 27, 2012 at 08:53 AM
CJMR- Ursula Vernon once theorized that the "bread, eggs, milk" thing may be so that the Weather Gods can be appeased with offerings of French Toast.
Ellen Brand |
Aug 27, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ah yes, I remember that discussion. I think I might have participated in that discussion.
Aug 27, 2012 at 07:15 PM
It's not a bad idea. Kind of a win-win. Better weather, or French Toast. It's weird, like there's some collective memory of all the bread and egg and milk deliveries being held up. I guess it makes sense, since they're perishable staple items, but it's still weird.
Aug 28, 2012 at 07:04 AM
[[wendy: The cynical reason: Nobody wants to offend Uncle Shishkabob or Grandma Hysterica, but OMG I do not want to saddle my child with that name. Now I've got a graceful way out.]]
Heh. My grandmother (mom's mom) was named Michelina. My mom's relatives wanted them to name me Serafina ("what kind of name is Sarah?"), but my parents would have none of it. In a room full of Luigis and Pasquales and such, this was a Big Deal. :)
Aug 28, 2012 at 10:07 AM
Well, I spent the last five days at a Discworld Convention. I may not now be entirely coherent, but I can report that did get to talk with Jacqueline Simpson, the awesome woman who wrote The Folklore of Discworld, and whom Terry Pratchett consults on folklore matters. Modern folklore, she says, changes and is dispersed so quickly that she cannot keep up with it.
At the Irish Discworld Con last year, she gave a talk about the magic number three. Stories told happened to a friend of a friend of a friend, or to your great-grandfather. Three fates. Three witches (the mother, maiden, crone triad is, she said, actually fairly recent here on Roundworld, though Nanny Ogg tells us it's ancient on Discworld). And various other threes which, in my current sleep-deprived state, I simply cannot recall.
Across the road from my parents' house is the demesne of an old landed estate. The demesne contains some ancient oak woodland, but also many fields, and is a working farm. One field contains a small hawthorn tree, which the owner carefully ploughs around without disturbing. I mentioned this to Jacqueline when I was talking to her a couple of days ago, and she was delighted.
Timothy (TRiG) |
Aug 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
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