Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!

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Articles about 'Folk Lore'
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The poem "Mr. Moon: A Song for Little People" is about a fairy ring calling the moon to come down.  It was written by Bliss Carmen.  You can listen to the recording and read along with the poem below… MP3 of Mr. Moon Mr. Moon: A Song of the Little People By Bliss Carmen O […]
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My friend Maria Hayda shared this wonderful picture of a wooly caterpillar that she took, along with some fascinating weather lore: "Judging by this wooly caterpillar’s markings, it will not be a mild winter.  According to my Ukrainian Grandma, very black ends that travel inwards and not just on the tips of these caterpillars signal […]
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Etegami is a Japanese style of drawing with a written message on it. Etegami artist Debbie created the drawing here which contains the Japanese phrase "otenki uranai".  That basically means "a trick for prophesying the weather."  Here’s what Debbie wrote about the weather trick: "When I was little, the neighborhood kids and I followed an […]
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Semamori (背守り) is an old tradition in Japan of embroidering a good luck symbol or amulet on the back of a baby’s clothing.  It was traditionally embroidered on the top back of the child’s kimono.  Semamori means "to protect the back".  It was believed that the devil came from behind a person and thus they […]
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The leprechaun is a fairy shoemaker eagerly sought by people who like to get rich quick. If the mortal who meets him will only keep his eyes fixed upon the fairy, the little chap will have to disclose the hiding place of a certain crock of gold. But the leprechaun is so full of tricks […]
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The leprechaun is one of the symbols of St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s a poem about the leprechaun for the holiday… The Leprechaun,—the omadhaun*!—that lives in County Clare, Is one foot wide and three foot high without an inch to spare. He winks the sea-blue eye of him, like other saucy rogues, And underneath the blackthorn-bush […]
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Here’s an Irish Blessing just in time for St. Patrick’s Day… Irish Blessing   May your pockets be heavy And your heart be light.   May good luck pursue you Each morning and night. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! -Mama Lisa
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Song of The Leprechaun or Fairy Shoemaker was written by Irish poet William Allingham (1824 – 1889).  Leprechauns are known to be shoemakers.  At the end of the work day, they hide away the money they earned in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Song of The Leprechaun or Fairy Shoemaker […]
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When my son was born, my husband’s grandmother asked if she could tie a red ribbon to the bottom of his crib.  This was to ward off the "evil eye" and keep away bad luck. Some people wear a red string or bracelet on their left hand to ward off the "evil eye" too.  The […]
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Towards the end of WWI two cousins, young girls, took photos with fairies they said they had met.  Later they admitted they faked the photos.   Yet many people at the time believed they were real, including the author of the Sherlock Holmes stores, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The fairies came to be called the "Cottingley […]
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Fatima wrote yesterday from Iran, "It’s Yalda night ceremony (the longest night of the year).  Iranian people eat nuts, walnuts, pomegranate, and watermelon for Yalda." Yaldā is an ancient Persian Winter Solstice celebration. People used to stay up for most of the night to ward off misfortune.  Nowadays, families mainly gather together for a nice […]
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Barmbrack is an Irish fruit bread that’s served for Halloween and for Samhain, a similar holiday celebrated on November 1st. Barmbrack has traditionally been cooked with objects inside that are used for “fortune-telling”.  Below are some objects used.  Whoever receives the slice with that object is supposed to have the corresponding fortune in the upcoming […]
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Recently, we talked about the French good luck charm dolls called Nénette and Rintintin that are made out of yarn.  In a second post we explained how to make the yarn dolls.  Here we present a 2nd way to make them. This version of the Nénette and Rintintin dolls won’t have a tuft of hair […]
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Recently, we talked about the French good luck charm dolls called Nénette and Rintintin that are made out of yarn.  Here you can learn how to make them. Supplies Some Yarn (including a piece of red or pink yarn for the mouth)  5 inch piece of cardboard  Scissors Yarn Needle Black Embroidery Thread & Needle […]
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Nénette et Rintintin were originally toy dolls for children that were first produced in France in 1913.  The boy doll is Nénette and the girl doll is Rintintin. In the tradition of romance in France, they’re seen as a couple! When WWI came, people started making little Nénette et Rintintin dolls out of yarn.  They […]
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Have you ever heard of Fairy Rings?  In real life, Fairy Rings are a naturally occurring phenomena where mushrooms grow in a circle. In folklore, Fairy Rings are an enchanted place where fairies gather at night and dance under the moonlight. John Milton mentioned dancing Fairy Elves in the first Book of Paradise Lost… Fairy […]
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It’s fascinating to learn about old superstitions.  Here are some that were practiced in England during the month of May… My favorite is bathing your face in the morning dew in the grass on May 1st to make you more beautiful.  The text is from a book called “The Illustrated London Magazine” from 1855… “The […]
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I found this article about wedding superstitions in a very unlikely place:  an American journal from 1906 called, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.  It was written by Memphis Scimiter… Wedding Superstitions The old rhyme that had to do with the days of the week still holds considerable power in the choice of the wedding day in […]
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Where the Bee Sucks is from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.  In the play, it’s sung by the fairy spirit Ariel.  You can read this lovely song below and listen along to two different renditions of it – one recited, the other sung. Where The Bee Sucks (Shakespeare) Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In […]
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I’ve recently been asked about a counting-out rhyme chanted in Indiana.  This rhyme may have its origins in an old Gypsy magic spell. Marsha wrote to me about the rhyme that was chanted by her grandmother: “I’ve been trying to find the source of a chant my grandmother taught me.  My mother (who is 86) […]
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