Background about Informant:
Anna is a 22-year-old exchange student from Hungary, studying business at USC. She was born and raised in Budapest and has knowledge of many facts and traditions of Hungary.
General Description from Informant:
“There’s this superstition some people in Hungary believe – if a girl sits at the corner of the table that means she will never get married.”
- Where/who did you learn this superstition from?
- “My friends, girls in general. I think in elementary school, maybe while sitting in the cafeteria or something.”
- What does it mean to you? Do you believe it’s true?
- “I don’t believe it’s true and no one believes it’s true, but no one does it because you feel uncomfortable if you do it, because you never know – it could happen. Like, you know it’s a superstition, but you don’t know, why not be safe anyways.”
- Where did it come from? What’s the history behind it?
- “I’m assuming something from the countryside but I don’t know exactly what. Most of these superstitions come from the countryside.”
- What do you think it symbolizes?
- “Since it probably comes from countryside – and everyone wanted to get married early, and it’s all about the girl, it was a big shame to not get married, so came from the fear of not being married.”
- Why is it only girls and not guys that can get the bad luck?
- “Because guys were not afraid of not getting married.”
Analysis from Collector:
This is just one Hungarian superstition, which is also found in other Europian countries as well. The way Anna explained people’s thoughts about the superstition is in line with many superstitions – which is that usually they don’t explicitly believe in it, but they do acknowledge it enough to not do. The idea is, “why take any chances” with these superstitions.
I think Anna is right in thinking that it comes from the fear that women will not get married and where guys did not worry about not getting married. Through further research, I discovered this superstition is prevalent in many countries, but the exact meaning behind it is unclear.