USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Necklace’
Folk Beliefs
general
Material

Vietnamese Wedding Gifts

Main Piece:

 

The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as DD. I am marked as DG.

 

DD: “So it’s a little bit of folklore about this necklace, which is actually a folk object of mine. And, um, so in Vietnamese families there is a tradition of the…groom’s parents giving a gift to the bride, um, right before the wedding… And so this necklace is what my dad’s mom gave to my mom to commemorate their, um, wedding, and …. I, my mom never really wore it and it was kind of just put away because my mom just kind of has a lot of old jewelry she never wore. And I was looking through some of our old stuff because we were moving out my senior year after my grandma passed away, and my mom found it and asked if I wanted to keep it to, you know, remember my grandmother. And I remember–you know I haven’t taken it off, except maybe when im competing, or when I’m, like, going anywhere I might lose it. It…feels…well, like, similar to when you wear something and you don’t take it off, it feels weird. So, um, whenever I’m not wearing the necklace I feel myself reaching for my neck to go touch it. It does feel…it’s a nice reminder that, um, well in my family we have this belief that our ancestors never…it’s not that they really leave us, there is an afterlife and my grandmother is kind of watching us and if I ask for help she’ll be there for us.”

 

The piece is a small blue rectangular jade necklace, wrapped in silver.

 

Context:

 

The conversation was recorded while sitting in the sun on a bench on a university campus. The giving of the gift was to be given before a marriage between two families, and the interviewee was given the necklace after the death of her grandmother.

 

Background:

 

The student was born and raised in Northern California. She is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. Although she was born in Northern California, her entire family is from Vietnam, and she is one of the first generation to be born in the United States.

 

Analysis:

 

What I like about this piece of folklore is that the giving of it was a folklore act, with the groom’s parents giving the bride a gift being a tradition. However, then the interviewee was later given the necklace to remember her grandmother. What I like then is that the necklace picks up a new form of folklore belief–the belief that her grandmother is able to watch over her, and then when she touches the necklace she knows that her grandmother is there. This then pulls upon two folklore categories: myths, with the afterlife, and superstition, with the belief that the touching of the item will speak to her grandmother, in a way. It’s a touching and warm folklore item.

Childhood
Customs
Folk Beliefs
Material

Clovers

My informant grew up in a town outside of Springfield, Ohio, in a relatively small community.  According to her, there wasn’t much to go out and do, so one of the things she loved to do was pick clovers and knock them into a necklace similar to a Hawaiian lei.  Some of her other friends would also make these necklaces with her.  Also she and her friends use to take these clovers and make them into a sort of potion for the fairies, and in exchange for this potion, they believed that the fairies would grant them three wishes.  My informant says she and her friends used to wish for stuff like having the longest hair of anyone they knew, but later in life they started making their first wish to be for a hundred extra wishes, which made the wishing get out of hand.

While I never made potions for fairies, there were certainly times in my life, especially after watching the movie Aladdin, where the topic of conversation between me and my peers turned into “if you had three wishes, what would they be?”  And almost everyone’s first wish was for a hundred extra wishes, or a million extra wishes, or infinite wishes, or something.  Usually we said stuff like that wasn’t allowed.  We certainly weren’t the wish police or the wish distribution bureau, so we didn’t care about fairness per se, but the point of the game was to see what kinds of things people wanted, so limiting someone to thee wishes was in the interests of a fair personality test.

general

Your Boob is Showing aka Somebody’s Thinking of You

An oicotype of the folk belief that “Somebody’s thinking of you” when the clasp and pendant of your necklace touch, the phrase which is usually said/signified by a person who isn’t wearing the necklace.

As told verbatim by informant:

“Yeah, people have that thing where the clasp of your necklace and the pendant touch each other and they say ‘Somebody’s thinking of you.’ ‘Your boob is showing, someone’s thinking of you’—my mom always tells me that. I always think I have a nip-slip or something. (laughing) She says it in front of people too. It’s more like now when I see it I think ‘Who’s thinking of me?’ It’s like ‘Who would’ve done that?’ She def brings it up. She says it to get my attention more I guess. Like when I tell my friends ‘Hey, your boob is showing’ they don’t know what I’m talking about, but I think I tend to say that so that they’ll look down themselves to find out someone’s thinking of them.”

This little dite is a legitimate folk belief to my informant. The forwardness of her mother’s version is humorous to say the least. Of course this belief/dite is something my informant knows to be subjective to girls and from the reference to “boobs” probably has its origin among pubescent girls. Naturally, this is a time when having someone think of you, especially romantically, comes into the forefront of young girl’s minds. In this case though, the sheer fact that my informant’s mother has her special signifying dite always reminds my informant of her. Since she’s picked up saying this dite, she consciously allows the person who’s “being thought of” the simple pleasure of finding out that someone’s thinking of them for themselves. To my informant, it’s a real thing, and even at age 20 she enjoys thinking about who might have her on their mind.

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