Folk Beliefs
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Sleeping Near Air Conditioning System (Chinese Belief)

Context/Background: The informant is Chinese-American and grew up with different Chinese folk beliefs. One in particular, involves the idea that one cannot sleep next to air conditioning to avoid damage done to the face as heard from her mother.

Informant:

[Face-to-Face]

“So, my mom, I think it was just because there’s this thing in China when you get too cold and your body just starts hurting. Have you like- have you ever just too cold and your stomach starts hurting a lil bit and it’s just like… ouchie. Well, yeah, so uh in order to prevent that, my mom- I’m assuming my mom just told me this- but it was this thing where she would tell us stories about how, if you slept near grates- like fan grates when they’re like on the floor of your house… Have you ever had air vent grates on the floor of your house?

KA: Umm, I haven’t, but I know that’s a thing.

“Okay, well I used to sleep near it because I… I used to lay by it because it was cold and the like… So like, my mom told me, and it was common knowledge that if you were close to it, and you fell asleep, your face would literally fall off and it would move to one side and then your face would just be on one side.”

Introduction: The informant was introduced to this belief from her mother.

Analysis/Interpretation: I find it interesting how much of these folk beliefs tend to come from parents and it makes me wonder if there’s a higher underlying meaning to it. I think this may have just been something passed down, so it wasn’t questioned by the informant, but I would find it useful to search further into the reasoning behind a sleeping story such as this.

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