The informant said that she learned Taiwanese traditions from her grandparents, or it was talked about at her school (there would be stories in their textbooks about them). She emphasized that it is very important to her that she learns these traditions and keeps them up, even though some of them conflict with her own religious beliefs, because they are part of her cultural heritage. She said that it makes her sad when she sees Taiwanese-Americans who do not know or practice any Taiwanese traditions, because they are missing out on something that is a part of who they are and helps to define them.
The informant told this story to a group of female friends, while out to dinner one night. She had a smile on her face the whole time and the audience reacted with coos and aww’s, eating up the romantic parts of the story.
During July, we have our Chinese Valentine’s Day. So, Chinese Valentine’s Day, it’s — it’s really cute. It’s more of a.. It’s more of a Taiwanese and Chinese tradition. So, the story is that there’s these two…um… there’s this one couple. One of– the female– is one of.. She’s a goddess. The male is just a normal peasant. And one day, when the goddess comes down to earth and, uh, take a shower at one of the.. um.. fountains and stuff. This peasant saw her and fall in love with her. And, uh, in order to attract her, he stole away her clothes. So, she has to go after the peasant and she– they fall in love. But, then you can never — a goddess cannot fall in love with a human. So.. um.. they can’t be together. Uh, the main gods, they separate the couple. So, um, during July, the goddess just.. Um.. oh, wait, wait. Oh! The gods do pity them, so they decided that they only meet once in a year, which is Chinese Valentine’s. So, on Chinese Valentine’s, there will be birds, there will be, um, celestial creatures that will build a bridge between heaven and Earth, so they can walk onto the bridge and meet each other at the middle of the bridge. So, that is Chinese Valentine’s.
I thought it was interesting that the informant was talking about a holiday that she participated in her home country, but she discussed it in a narrative form. It seemed that the story behind Chinese Valentine’s Day was more significant or interesting to her than the holiday itself. This might have something to do with tendency for humans to relate more to something when it’s told as a narrative. The reason she discussed this holiday using a narrative might also be because of the audience. She was talking to a group of her girl friends, who she probably thought were more interested in hearing a compelling love story than hearing about Taiwanese traditional holidays.