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The Melting Pot

Melian

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We Tolkienologists seem to be quite an international mixture.
Inspired by Lhun's thread, "The Tower of Babel", this one is meant to give chance for a deeper cultural interaction. If you can think of any typical customs, songs, holidays, fairy tales, fables, proverbs and so on and so on, characteristic of your country and hometown, please post it here!
I hope we get as much as possible of different flavours!
 

Anamatar IV

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It's when I read threads like this that I regret the lack of culture America has....except for the prolific supply of fast food:D
 

FoolOfATook

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It's when I read threads like this that I regret the lack of culture America has....except for the prolific supply of fast food
If you want uniquely American food, folklore, songs, customs, proverbs and so forth, just head to the south (am I right Grond? ;)). Just in North Carolina we have our unique set of fairy tales and folklore- the "Jack" stories from the Appalachian mountains, stories about pirates (Blackbeard lived in Bath, North Carolina), ghost stories, legends from the Cherokee tribe that still lives in the western part of the state, the folklore surrounding the famous "Lost Colony" in Dare County, the story of "The Devil's Tramping Ground", and much more. We have unique food- As any North Carolinian will tell you, the ONLY place you get can real barbeque is in eastern NC.

New England and Texas also both come to mind as American regions which have their own unique cultures.
 

Anamatar IV

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Hmmm I live in New England....have for all my life. Maybe I just haven't noticed that much culture. Well I see a lot more Dunkin' Donuts here than in say California (I only notice the food:rolleyes: )...I suppose camping and swimming and all those other outdoorsie type events are New England Culture.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Oh, Mel! Such a wonderful idea!
I'll think of sth. and I'll post it...

Hey, why wait?!

Tomorrow, YOUR St.Valentine Day concides in fact with one of the oldest traditional custom in our lands - the Day of the wine and the wine-makers.

For those of you from other countries - a brief description.
People in the village (noone actually keeps the traditions in the big cities) pronounce whose wine was the best last year. The proud wine-maker then has the right to be the first to cut a vine.
So, people get dressed in their best clothes, women prepare delicious meals and they all go to the vine-yards. There the winner cuts a vine and a lot of speeches and songs are then sung for the wine to become good this year too. And people have great feasts.

This is it! Our St' Trifon Zarezan. ;)

Of course, Gate will understand this tradition! Wine-making is one of the oldest crafts in this part of the world!
*******

I'd like to hear some fairy stories from Ireland.

As for USA, I grew up with the stories about Indians and cowboys.... My father joked that I was his second son :D...
But the culture of the Indians is very ancient and so mystic!
 

gate7ole

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And I guess Lhun that after the speeches and songs, everyone's so drunk that the songs lose their "phonetic value":D
We have some similar traditions concerning wine and they have great fun.

But let me tell you one of our religious traditions. Every 15th of August (when St. Mary has her birthday), the people of my island have the tradition to walk a distance of 25km on foot (a sort of pilgrimage). Of course, the younger ones have changed the whole religious concept and we do this just for fun! Now, I guess you wonder how fun it is to walk for 6 hours.

One more think. Our traditional drink is called "uzo", sth like sampuca but MUCH better (of course;) ).
 

Lhunithiliel

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Originally posted by gate7ole
And I guess Lhun that after the speeches and songs, everyone's so drunk that the songs lose their "phonetic value":D
LOL :D :D
But that's the point....You see, wine is to be cellebrated!
It's actually a very very old tradition, coming much before Christianity came to these lands. And once it was a feast to honour the young God Dionisius.

One more think. Our traditional drink is called "uzo", sth like sampuca but MUCH better (of course;) ).
Have you tried Bulgarian rakia? ;) :D
 

gate7ole

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Originally posted by Lhunithiliel
Have you tried Bulgarian rakia? ;) :D
Actually, we also have a drink named "raki". Definitely the same root. I wonder if it's greek or bulgarian.
 

Beleg

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Raki

Have you tried Bulgarian rakia
Actually Rakia is the name of a local actress here.
:p

Well, there are a number of custom's here that are rather peculiar and exciting.

The most recent and popular one is the Kite-Flying, basant
Everyyear its celebrated at the start of Spring, (in the months of February and March). basically people fly all types of kites with different type of stings, their main aim being to cut the opponents kite. Its great fun and I usually end up tearing my kite in an attempt of flying it. :mad:
The strings used are very special and they are highly dangerous too. Just a slight stroke can be highly poisonous and can deal a person a heavy cut. That's why the mother's dont like children to go out flying kites. Loads of people from different countries come to celebrate this occasion. The sky is virtually filled with every types of kites and songs and well we usually have lots of fun. The festival is this weekend and we wear yello cloths and scarfs and fly kites from our roofs.

There is a drink called
which is mighty heavenly and refreshing and more importantly a jug of that can keep a person on his feet for a whole day!

Well then their is the Religious festival
which had taken a bit of a commercial touch. we spend the whole night firing fireworks and crackers of everytype. its preety dangerous.

But the real, real humorous and great customs can be observed on a traditional Wedding!!!

I hope i didn't bore you out with the tales of my country Pakistan.
 
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Lhunithiliel

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Bore us?! NO!!!!!
It was sooooo interesting!
Beleg, I have never known that you come from Pakistan!
How interesting!!!!

And tell us about the weddings! ;) :)
 

Melian

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Hm! Before the weddings, I have something to say!
Lhun, how couldn't you describe our Trifon Zarezan tradition more clearly!
There's a great story behind this holiday,actually.
Trifon, the patron saint of wine-makers, got quite 'merry' on Feb 14. He was so drunk and dizzy... He decided to go out and prune the grapevine. However, you can imagine his zig-zag pace and awkwardness in his condition. And instead of cutting the vine, he cut off HIS NOSE with the pruning-shear!!!!
That's why they call him Zarezan, which translates approximately as "Cut-off".

Now, you see, Orthodox Christian tradition can always come up with such fascinating legends :) ;) :)
 

Beleg

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And instead of cutting the vine, he cut off HIS NOSE with the pruni
LMAO! I guess everyone has made a joke or two about ST. Valentines day.

Now about the weddings.

They usually are a grand affiar. Not less then 500 people are invited.
There are four parts of a Wedding.

1. Mainu

2. Mehendi

3. Nikah/Barat/Shadi

4. Walimah

about 3 days before the actual Nikah the Bride is ordered to remain in a sperate room and she isnt allowed to go outside and no one but Girls can enter it. (It becomes quiet annyoing if the bride is a close cousin of us male guys:mad: ) There the bride is massaged with a special yellow paste known as Ubtan. The UBTAN is sprawled all over her face and legs and body and a pic of her is taken. Now the Groom tries to get this pic before the Nikah at every cost. This tends to cause a lot of accidents. The pic is usually in the custody of a close friend of the bride and she and her friends first inform the Groom about the pic and then ask him to make a deal if he wants to get the pic. In this way they bribe out a lot of money from the Groom and even then they usually provide him with a false picture.

Now on the Night when the Bride (Dulhan) goes in Maiun, there are parties in bride's and groom's houses (one if they are cousins) which is attended by the family and close friends. Now in the party a lot of Old Traditional songs are sung and as the Girl's arew singing the boys dance. But late in the night, the girls suddenly attack the guys with Ubtan and try to sprawl it all over their faces hands. This usually get really rough with all the guys getting in one room of the house, locking it and refusing addmitance. Cloths usually get roughened up with Ubtan *(this ubtan is different from Bride's ubtan, its more of a thick, smelly paste which seems to stink)* if any poor guy is caught and cornered by the girl's then the guy has a mighty bad time. When the girls finish with him, it often gets that the guys own mother refuses to recognise him. So we feel it very safe to be out of their reach when the ceremony starts. it type of a hide and seek game. If they corner no one and all are safely tuckedup in a house, they try to lull and bribe out the peeps outside.
i know of a party which i attended as a child in which the room was not properly locked up and a whole retune of girl's broke in and we guys/children had to wash till morning to get ourselves clean. During that time new pairs are made, jokes are set about various girls/guys that seemed attracted to each other and if someone is caught blushing at the mention of any particular guy/girl, he/she is teased unmercifully. it usually ends up late in the morning. When i was a child, we children were usually ordered to go to bed at 12-00 nclock under a maid supervision but i often used to slip outside and watch the whole drama with envoy. But i wasn't as thrilled when i underwent the same proceddure myself. its the time for the girl's to get even with the guys.

Anyway, the next day on the day of Mehndi (The tags arent working for me so i have to type normally) we wake up pretty late. on that day guests from Other cities began to come and the scene is set up. The old people gather in a seperate room, (when i mean old, i mean really old, Ah but should i say 40 is old?;) ) and discuss old memories. The youngone's, tweens and married people are gathered in seperate/respective places and plan fun things all the day. Usually the boys/men play Cricket (the most popluar game here) or comment on politics while the girl's examine the bride's dresses and *Jehaze*. The whole day is spent in fun making and preparing for the functions in both houses. Now as the evening approaches, the saga began's to liven up and by the evening prayer everyone starts to get ready for the evening function of Mehndi.
 

Melian

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Oh my! ALL THAT is done during a single wedding?!?!
It must be exhausting for the families to prepare for 500 guests... And how does the bride feel, being the central figure of that auspicious ceremony?...

We have, too, a custom which requires much freaky outfits, noise and mobs....It's called kukeri, but I'll tell you about it next time --I need to arrange my narration:)
 

Beleg

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Melian that all is done in only one day of the four day wedding ceremony!!! Yes it's really costly and it has often been criticized and not all the families celebrate the four day weeding but its fun. I'll type more about the rest of the three days after Melian has sent her post. Erm I kinda tried asking My Aunt how it felt to be the bride but she waved me off..:rolleyes: So i guess i have to ask someone younger....how she felt on her wedding. Its usually a very teary partition between father and daughter, son and mother.:eek:
 

Melian

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Oh my! Fathers, hold your daughters tight for it's a crying time (wedding)!:)

Well, before the kukeri, I'll tell you about an approaching Bulgarian holiday so that you can be ready and celebrate with us.
On Mar 1st, we will calebrate our Baba Marta fest. (or Granny March).
Woven threads, red and white, are twisted to make simple bracelets, broches, necklaces and so on. These are called the martenitzi. Friends give them each other, tie them round wrists or pin them on their clothes. The martenitzi are worn until one sees the first stork for the year, i.e. spring's arrival. Then you take it off and tie it on a blossoming tree, or put it under a rock. You wish health (symbolized by the red color) and happiness and fertility (white).
On Mar 1st. you can see that mass red-and-white superstitition round everyone's wrist.It's pretty, and meaningful, and cheap after all. You can make martenitzi yourself or buy them (there are millions of models). Simply red and white and such a cheerful spring fest.
They say it has Barbarian origins...but I'm not quite aware of the history behind it. Maybe Lhun can tell you more.
 

Gil-Galad

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Originally posted by Lhunithiliel

Have you tried Bulgarian rakia? ;) :D
Yes I have!Mmmmmmm you know what I think about it.But I believe foreigners shouldn't drink it cause it's too strong for them.My friends from The Netherlands have tried it and they were knocked out in the literally meaning of the word.
 

Beleg

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Yes I have!Mmmmmmm you know what I think about it.But I believe foreigners shouldn't drink it cause it's too strong for them.My friends from The Netherlands have tried it and they were knocked out in the literally meaning of the word.


Oh My, Oh My....

WoW Melian the Martenitzi you described was really a sweet event. We the heardhearted people here sadly have no such event (not any that i am aware off) here in my region. Friendship is usually symbolizied by a hug and that's it.

Err what's the Kukeri? Is it the Wedding?
 

Gil-Galad

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Originally posted by Beleg_strongbow

Err what's the Kukeri? Is it the Wedding?
No kukeri are people who wear special monster costumes with rings on them. They dance and dance and jump and jump and make an awful noise.They do that cause in the end of every winter the evil ghosts and spirits should be driven away from the lands,houses,etc.
Actually see these pages:http://www.plovdivcityguide.com/Traditions/Kukeri/
http://www.iearn.org.au/food/kukeri.htm
http://www.xs4http://www.stefansdom.com/ShowPhoto_eng.asp?photo_id=146all.nl/~gweshuis/foto10.htm
 

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