Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Traditions

            While doing research for a story that I am writing about my family I came across some interesting tidbits about my grandfather. My grandfather was French-Canadian he grew up in Canada on a farm. He moved to New England as a young man. He once owned a diary farm in Vermont. All the cows had names. He named the cows after family members. Sometimes the cows would get out of the field and wander onto the dirt road that lead to the house. We would have to get out of the car and shoo them away by name. Move it Uncle Leo, go home Jean, quit eating the lawn Paul. There were over fifty ways to leave your cow.                                                                                                                                                                  I also learned that whenever it was someones birthday the family would place a piece of butter on the birthday persons nose. No one in the family knows why this was done. I was wondering if anyone has ever heard of this being done and if you might know why.
At first I thought maybe it was because during the Depression  butter was a rare commodity. I had to quickly disclaim that thought as the time frame did not match. I am lead to think that maybe it was just a silly family quirk. I began to think about other families and I am wondering what traditions others have.What kind of traditions has your family made up?

              Upon further research and the God's that be Google has lead me to my answer. Here is what I have found:

Canada - Greasing the nose with butter or margarine. In Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland) the birthday child is ambushed and their nose is greased for good luck. The greased nose makes the child too slippery for bad luck to catch them. This tradition is reputed to be of Scottish decent. Birthday punches. In Quebec the birthday person receives a punch for each year they are alive and then one for good luck.

My birthday is tomorrow and I am so going to hide my nose.



  1. Fun to read about the cows! and your family. A greased nose - wow, I may start a new tradition. I don't think we have any particular ones around here, traditions. I'll have to give that thought.

  2. Thank you Sandy.

    I don't mind the butter but I draw the line at the punches and if you're going to spank you better be pulling my hair too. Just saying..maybe that was TMI