USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘c’
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Flight Ritual/ Superstition

In a conversation about upcoming travel plans, Lida brought up a ritual of her own:

“Before I get on a plane I touch the outside of the plane with a flat palm and if can, I touch the first window with a flat palm. I also walk on only with my right foot.”

 

I asked, when did you start doing that?

“I am really not sure when I started. I must have seen someone do it and then that was it. I did it every time and now I can’t fly unless I do it. I’m not sure if it’s a superstition but it’s kinda like a comfort thing. It’s a habit or like a routine that makes it seem like everything is gonna be like it always is when I’m flying.”

 

Background: Lida is a twenty-year old born and raised in Boston, MA and currently living in Los Angeles, CA attending USC as a sophomore. Her parents are divorced and she has two sisters.

Context: Lida brought up her ritual when we were talking about the upcoming trip she had the following weekend to fly home from school.

Analysis: This story totally resonated with me because I feel like I do many things that have become a “routine” simply for the sake of comfort and safety. I’ve always been an okay flyer, but my mom on the other hand, is a really nervous flyer. If I am on a plane with my mom she will always hold my hand for the entirety of the take-off and then again for the landing, but will be totally fine while we’re in the air. She has done this since I was a little girl, so now it has become instinct whenever I fly with her, and definitely a gesture of comfort. It is interesting to analyze how a gesture that will realistically not change any outcome of future events can create peace of mind and a calm disposition. I think the concept of folkloric “habits” in regard to beliefs or superstitions is an intriguing concept of study as they dramatically vary person to person and can be very uncommon or seem weird to others.

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