USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘pillow’
Folk Beliefs
Protection

The Sides of a Pillow

About the Interviewed: Jakob is a senior at Calabasas High School. His family is half Isreali-Jewish, and half French-Canadian. He’s about 18 years old.

My subject, Jakob, told me about a superstition that was passed down in his family.

Jakob: “My family believes that the different sides of the pillow you sleep on determine your luck. It’s like, a really old superstition that my grandma passed down onto my mom.”

I ask him if he personally believes in it. 

Jakob: “Not really, but my brothers do. My mom believes that our family can’t sleep on the left side of a pillow because it brings bad luck. It only works if you intentionally try to sleep that way. If it’s by accident the universe doesn’t care. (laughs) If you sleep on the right side of a pillow, it’s good luck. If you keep doing it, good things happen. I used to think my mom wasn’t that into, but I remember this one time that she woke up on the wrong side of the pillow, and she was furious.”

I ask him which side of his family does he think that the belief came from?

Jakob: “Well my mom is from Israel, so she might get it from there. Other than that, I don’t know. I think personally that it’s like a placebo thing, like if you think about something happening really hard, and then it happens. That’s what I think it’s like.”

Summary:

My friend Jakob reported that the members of his innermost family share a folk belief pertaining the sides of the pillow you sleep on at night. Sleeping on the left brings bad luck, sleeping on the right brings good.

One thing that’s unique about this story is that it’s reflective of the old wives tales that were so prominent a long time ago. Beliefs about luck, ideas that seeing a black cat or walking under a ladder would be detrimental to your future well-being, show that superstition and belief are still prominent in some cultures.

Game

to “truck” someone

There’s an old trick/game my cousin warned me of whenever you fall alseep around other people, and it goes like this: if someone falls asleep, you should grab a pillow and flashlight and approach the sleeping person. Slowly begin to wave the flashlight (turned on) back and forth in front of their eyes quietly shouting, “Truck!”…and growing louder with each word, “Truck! Truuuuck! Get out of the way!!” and then, bam! You smack them with the pillow in the face. And so the story goes, that if the act of hitting the person with a pillow didn’t wake them, then you should ask them in the morning if they dreamed about a truck running them over.

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