My blog was established in conjunction with my participation in FOLK-F121 "World's Arts and Cultures" at Indiana University, Fall 2007.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

When I saw that our reflection question was about folk groups, I realized that I wasn’t sure what even qualified as a folk group. So many questions ran through my head. Can any group be a folk group? Does there have to be a specific number of people? Then I read that a folk group is essentially any group of two or more people who share a common factor (35). This is a vague way to think of folk groups, so then I went to look for how they form and start. The book lists five main ways that folk groups form: necessity, obligation or circumstance, proximity, regular interaction, or shared interest or skill (38). I have a specific group of people that I play volleyball with every week. This folk group was formed when we all met freshman year in a volleyball tournament that Teter dormitory was hosting. We liked the way each other played, and decided to form a group that gets together every week and plays volleyball for a few hours. According to the book, we formed because of a shared interest or skill (38).

Another important aspect about of folk groups is being able to identify yourself as a part of that group. According to our book, sometimes we choose groups that express the identity we want to create for ourselves, rather than find groups that express the identity we already have (41). I remember when I was younger I badly wanted to associate myself with my best friend’s religion, Lutheran. I wanted to be like her, so I felt that I needed to start going to her church, instead of my Catholic church. I now realize that the group that expressed the identity that I already had was Catholicism. Now I freely identify myself with the Catholic Church.

This blog entry is my response to Reflection Questions for Chapter 2.Sims, Martha C., and Martine Stephens. Living Folklore An Introduction to the Study of People and Their Traditions. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2005

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Weekend Of Cross-stitching

A very important form of folklore in my life is cross-stitching, specifically the tradition of going to my grandmother’s in Washington, Indiana one weekend of the summer and cross-stitching with her and her friends. Every summer, my grandmother picks one weekend to have a weekend long cross-stitching party. It is basically a group of elderly women, and myself, coming together and spending a weekend of gossiping, eating, and mainly, cross-stitching together. It is located somewhere in-between material and customary folklore.

The basic theme of the weekend is women empowerment. The whole weekend is really about women leaving their husbands for a few days, getting together with other women, and discussing things such as their children, marriages, past loves, and recipes, all the while cross-stitching. It is actually a tradition that my great-grandmother began. My great-grandmother was a housewife while my great-grandfather worked on the farm every day. To pass the time, my great-grandmother would cross-stitch. Eventually, it became a thing where she invited other women that lived around her to come over and cross-stitch. There was always one weekend during the summer where the farmers would go away and sell their produce to markets. My great-grandmother decided that during this weekend, they should have a cross-stitching party. As soon as my grandmother was old enough, she was able to learn and take part in the cross-stitching party. When my grandmother became a housewife herself, she decided to reignite the weekend long cross-stitching party, and when I was sixteen, my grandmother invited me to visit for the weekend and participate. It is definitely a feeling of being part of a group because it is the same group of women every year.

This weekend is extremely important to me. This group of women is extremely special, and they have taught me so many things that I will carry on with me for the rest of my life. The whole weekend is almost surreal, because they tell me stories of when they were my age and I can see how their lives have progressed and how my life may progress. It is the most important weekend in my life, and I always make sure I am able to be there. Even though I may not live in a small town my whole life, I definitely plan on carrying on the tradition that my great-grandmother began.

This blog entry is my response to reflection question number one.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I can completely connect with Ashley’s post in response to Reflection Question One about her and her husband trying to teach their four and a half year old daughter to tell funny jokes. I work at Campus Children’s Center which is a full-time childcare program mainly for the children of Indiana University’s faculty, staff, and students. It now provides care for children from birth through preschool. I have the pleasure of working in the preschool classroom with the three to five year olds, which much like Ashley’s daughter, are at an age where they are starting to tell jokes.

Like Ashley’s daughter, the main problems that the kids have are understanding the punch line and knowing where the punch line is supposed to be in the joke. We actually have a book of knock knock jokes in our classroom, which has become a favorite for a few of the children. Every day when I walk in, these few kids have me sit on the couch and read them a few jokes. They try to repeat each joke after I say it, but a lot of the time they will say the punch line after I say “Whose there?,” instead of waiting for the “Blank who?”. Although, once they finally learn how to tell the joke correctly, I, along with their family, schoolmates, and other teachers, will hear the joke continuously for the rest of the week. It doesn’t matter how many times each child tells the same joke, it’s still funny because they are just as excited to tell it the 30th time as they were the first time.

This is my first peer review posting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For my first encounter project, I decided to stick with verbal folklore and chose to do the joke or other verbal art project. The type of joke that my project focuses on is the knock knock joke. The specific knock knock joke that I heard went like this:

“Knock knock.”
“Whose there?”
“Atch, who?”
“Bless you!”

I heard this joke from one of my roommates three days ago. My two roommates, Ellyn and Marie, and I were in our living room, watching television and doing homework. Ellyn had her laptop with her and was checking her email when she came across one from her mother that contained twenty of her favorite knock knock jokes. She read a few of them to Marie and me, but she liked the one above the best. Throughout the whole night, Ellyn kept repeating the joke over and over again, laughing hysterically each time.

I know that knock knock jokes go way back, but I wasn’t sure exactly how long ago or how they originated. I figured my best bet was to go online and type in knock knock jokes to see what comes up. I ended up at, which said that South African school children used them in the early 1950s, but the exact origin of the knock knock joke is uncertain. Another website,, agreed that the origin of the knock knock joke is uncertain, but there is evidence of the use of knock knock jokes dating back to the time of William Shakespeare. According to this website, you can find a form of the knock knock joke in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, however, it did continue to say that there is no evidence that suggests this is how knock knock jokes originated.

After discovering that there is no real knowledge of when knock knock jokes originated, I do not feel like I can say whether this specific knock knock joke is old or new. If I had to take a guess, I would say that it came around in the 1950s when knock knock jokes were popular. Obviously, knock knock jokes are extremely widespread all over the world, but I wasn’t sure if this specific knock knock joke was known by few or many. I figured the best way to find out if this was a popular knock knock joke was to go online again and see if it was on popular knock knock joke websites. This specific joke was on every website I visited, but on some occasions it was worded differently, such as the “Bless you!,” would be replaced with “You’re Excused!,” or “Gesudheit!”. This is probably because this joke was passed verbally from generation to generation, undergoing different interpretations, much like the game telephone. Although we don’t know the origin of knock knock jokes, we do know that they are very widespread and is an extremely popular type of joke.

This post is my response to the joke or other verbal art project for my encounter project 1.