Folk Beliefs
Homeopathic
Magic
Protection

“If you hold your breath all the way under a tunnel you make a wish.”

The informant, at the age of eight or nine, heard of this belief from her father as the family of four was making a road trip to Las Vegas.  She was a sheltered child who was used to getting her way, so she was complaining about the boring road trip they had to take that had lasted for hours already.  Her father then told her that only if she could hold her breath for the entire time the car was inside the tunnel, then she could make any wish and it would come true.  Coming from her father, a credible source up until then, she believed him and held her breath so that she could wish that the ride would be over soon.  Ever since then she has been holding her breath under tunnels and competing with her younger brother to see who could hold it in through the longest tunnel.  Because it was so much fun when she was younger, she still sometimes holds her breath and makes wishes, although she has outgrown the stage in her childhood when she would believe that her silent wish would somehow come true.  She thinks that it is just a great form of entertainment when one is bored.  Now she likes to tell her younger cousins the same belief, hoping it will bring them as much fun and entertainment as it did her all those times before.

Around Orange County there aren’t many tunnels to drive through.  In fact, the only time I have ever driven under a tunnel was during my own family road trips to Colorado, when we had to drive through mountains.  However, I stumbled upon this same belief in almost the same way the informant did, that you could make a wish if you held your breath for the entire time you went under a tunnel.  This wishmaking does not have to occur during road trips or during a family vacation.  It can occur at any time.  I also believe that this wishmaking is just another form of entertainment for young children, and nothing to take seriously.  I believe it is retold to spread information that is fun and enjoyable for everyone.

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