A Spoon Under A Pillow

Text: “As a kid, me and all my classmates believed in this superstition where if we put a spoon under our pillow before we went to bed, it would mean that school was canceled for a snow day. It was pretty common in Colorado when snow was forecast; everyone would sleep with a spoon facing upwards so that it would essentially “catch” enough snow so that school administrators would call for a snow day in the morning.”

Context: My informant – a 22-year-old man from Monument, Colorado – told me about this superstition that he recalled being very prominent among school children in the place where he grew up. He explained to me that this was something young kids began to believe in from the moment they began their education, and it became a habit for children to sleep with a spoon under their pillow when it was forecast to snow because they wanted to somehow manifest a heavy snowfall so that school would be canceled the following day. I asked him if this was a superstition people continued to believe in, and he said that the majority of people stopped placing spoons under their pillows around the time they moved into high school, but it was and is still talked about among older age groups. He said that he learned this superstition from his older siblings and he began to copy their action of sleeping with a spoon under their heads; however, he explained that it was a superstition that somehow was just ingrained in every child’s mind where he grew up. 

Analysis: The superstition of placing a spoon under the pillow to bring about a snow day reveals interesting insights into the values and beliefs prevalent among school children in Colorado. This tradition reflects a desire for unexpected freedom and a break from the routine of school. By engaging in this ritual, children sought to exert a sense of control over external circumstances, hoping to influence the weather and prompt school administrators to cancel classes. At a deeper level, this superstition highlights the significance of community and shared beliefs among children. My informant’s recollection of this practice being widespread among classmates underscores the social aspect of folklore, where beliefs and rituals are passed down and collectively embraced within peer groups. This shared experience fosters a sense of unity among children, reinforcing their connection to each other and their environment.

Additionally, the eventual decline in the belief of this superstition as children transitioned into high school reflects the evolving nature of folklore and belief systems over time. As individuals mature and gain new perspectives, certain childhood rituals may fade away, yet the memory and discussion of such superstitions continue to resonate among older age groups, illustrating the enduring impact of childhood folklore on personal and collective memory. The superstition also reflects the anticipation and enjoyment associated with snow days in regions like Colorado, where heavy snowfall can disrupt daily routines. The superstition serves as a playful manifestation of the shared desire for spontaneous joy and temporary relief from academic responsibilities, embodying the cultural value of embracing the unexpected and finding delight in communal traditions.