USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Catholic beliefs’
Rituals, festivals, holidays

St. Anthony’s Good Luck

Informant:

Dina is a college freshman from Northern California, she comes from a large yet close knit Italian family.

Piece:

“So…. I am very forgetful person and when i was little, my mom and grandma used to tell me to say a prayer to St. Anthony whenever I lost something so that I could find it. And I’d be “like what do I say to St. Anthony” and they would say “well say dear St. Anthony please help me find whatever it is that you can’t find.” And I would say a little prayer and I would look really hard and I would find something and then they would tell me “well you have to remember to thank St. Anthony.” So I would say “thank you st. Anthony.” And then I would always attribute it to St. Anthony that I found my missing item thinking he was the reason I found my missing item. As I got older I began to do it myself without praying to him.

Collector’s thoughts:

The informant performed this piece in an apologetic fashion, seemingly embarrassed to admit that she had done this. To her, the praying to St. Anthony was not so much of a religious performance, but rather as a way to find a physical thing that had been lost.

 

 

Customs
Folk Beliefs
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Los Reyes Magos

Los Reyes Magos

“Los Reyes Magos are the three kings that came to visit Jesus after he was born. Supposedly they arrived January 6th so it is custom that kids receive gifts on that day as did baby Jesus many many years ago. Another big part of the Reyes Magos is that if you line one of your shoes next to the entry door, then they leave money inside of it. I now know that our parents were the ones who put that money in the shoes but back when you’re a little kid, you actually believe this myth. It’s seen as kind of like Santa Clause I guess. Oh and also, the crappier shoe you line up against the door, the bigger pay you get because supposedly the 3 kings give more money to the poorest kids. Anyway, I heard this story from my mom and my grandma, I think my mom was the one who first told me about this but it was probably because my grandma told her to start this tradition with me. I think they use this so that we don’t forget about the whole Jesus story because when believing in Santa Clause, kids can go away from their heritage and follow the more American version of it.”

The informant is an American born Mexican. Her parents and family all were born and raised in Mexico but she was born in the U.S. This essentially makes her a Chicana of 20 years. She grew up with the U.S customs yet still had really strong ties to her Mexican heritage because of her relatives and parents therefore, she fuses her American surroundings with her Mexican heritage. This can explain why she still practices some of the customs that are very Mexican originated.

In my opinion, I believe that my informant really hit the points I would try to make. This is that the 3 kings arriving to one’s house is a way that older folks of the culture can sort of preserve specific aspects and bestow them upon future generations. I find it interesting how the informant mentioned that the reason the mom may have kept this tradition alive may have been because her grandmother told her to do so. This is interesting because yet again, on can infer that this may be a matriarchal type of society in which the alpha male bestows important knowledge onto the young ones of the group. Overall this story is very interesting because it shows how one person can take part of a dual culture while still maintaining both at the same time. This is because the informant celebrated Santa Clause, a very American tradition, while also celebrating the arrival of the 3 kings which is a very catholic tradition, yet is able to distinguish both from one another.

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