Author Archives: Andrea

Rose water

“After I turned sixteen, every time that I came over to my grandma’s house she would always have like this vial of rose water with her and she would just be like, here you  need to put this on so you can find a boyfriend. That was like her thing, she believed rose water was a bringer of love because it was made with roses. And, now every time I smell it I think of her because it, it’s just kind of her, it was like her little obsession kind of thing about me finding a nice boy who would be attracted to this smell. So if she helped me then it would be faster. Well she’s from Georgia and she was a debutante, she was all of, like every stereotypical southern kind of girl and so I’m pretty sure she heard it from her mom, who it’s been kind of like a tradition they passed down sort of.”

Flowers symbolize new youth and fertility.  It makes sense that a debutante would pick up on this, and pass it on to her daughters and grand-daughters.  The scent of flowers are almost intoxicating.  Perfumes often have flowery and rosey scents because of this.  Wearing the scent from a bright red flower is like an advertisement to potential partners that one is young and beautiful.  There seems no better way to try to attract the attention of a young man by using a rose smelling perfume or rose infused water.

Town Festival

“So every May, um, in the little town where I live there’s something called the Redbud festival.  Um, the Red Bed is a type of, um, supposed to be like, a bush I think, it looks more like a bush, like technically considered a wild flower. But anyways so, they’re really pretty in May, and um you know like in other festivals you have the May Day festival, anyway this is celebrated in May. And, it’s a time when, um, in the community where I live they’re a lot of artists. And every, they come together, I’m not sure if other towns do this, there might be some other type of festivals around, but um, anyways the town comes together and it’s a way for, mostly for the artists to showcase of all their work. 

It definitely showcases the nature of the town. Like, we have a lot of artists, um, so if you come to the Redbud festival then you’ll get a pretty good glimpse of like, what the whole town is like and the type of people who are there. It’s mostly arts and crafts, so not really a lot of music, um, but we do have jazz people. So they’ll come and do like, little improve gigs and things like that. There’s not a lot of structure to it, it’s just kind of relaxed. Um, but yeah just a lot of arts and crafts which itself has a lot of folklore, like different ways of weaving and you know, traditional um, modes of activity um, craftwork.”

The town’s festival is celebrated in on mothers daay in May, in spring. This is the time of year when new life is being created everywhere, from plants to animals. The festival is even appropriately named after a vibrant, red wild flower.  The festival marks a time when the occupants of the town can come together and show off their particular artistic skill.  Spring is a great time to hold a festival; the weather is just beginning to become warm.  Additionallly, the informant states that arts and crafts are most prominant at the festival.  Women, especially mothers, are often associated with such domestic tasks.  The festival is a celebration of everyting associated with spring and motherhood.

School Ghost

“So, at my high school a small little high school I the central valley here in California, um, in drama, drama club, we believe, well I don’t believe, but a lot of people believe that there’s a ghost that lives in the, uh, the performing arts building. And his name is Charlie. Yeah, and, people have, I’ve never personally never had an experience with Charlie in the performing arts building, but a lot of people say that if they’re in the room by themselves if they get there early and its really dark, um you know, or they hear noises they think that Charlie is doing something backstage or is somewhere, uh. Yeah there’s a storage area underneath the seats it’s like, the seats are elevated. So underneath there’s, we store a lot of things in there. Uh, people swear that he, moves chairs and, or props and stuff for the scene around.  Some people think, I don’t think, I haven’t heard anyone say he’s important, or that he’s a historical figure.  Um, I don’t know, girls for some reason like to think that he’s younger. Guys like to think that he’s older. ”

The informant doesn’t know why why the particualr name “Charlie” was given to the ghost and is not sure how long the legend of the ghost had been around.  He  heard about the ghost when he was a freshman from a group of senior girls.  Girls may find the ghost of a young man lurking about the empty stage as exciting, and so encourage the idea that Charlie is a young male ghost.  Boys, on the other hand, may not find the same idea as appealing and rather, think of the ghost as an older man.

Chinese Shrines

Suzanne is currently spending a quarter abroad in Hong Kong, China. She heard about these shrines from her professor who said the shrines were there for the Gods to watch over shops for their owners.  She took these pictures in  the area of Sham Shui Po, where there are a lot of shrines

“The one with the tree next to it was next to a security guard’s booth at Lippo Centre, in Admiralty. Best guess says that it’s to the gods of guardians, asking him/her/them to watch over them, not necessarily or pertaining only to their protection.

Second one was a couple streets off Temple Street, outside of what I think was a mechanic’s shop. You can see a couple large stacks of tires in the background, a bicycle’s front wheel and handlebar basket in front of them. From what I can gather, the characters ask for finance to be brought to their door.
It seems that there are more shrines in areas where there are lots of local shops, definitely haven’t seen any in more western areas. In my opinion, it may either be due to big name companies not wanting the shrines in front of their shops, creating a connection between the two, or maybe because religion is fading from the “more well-to-do” areas because they think they don’t need it while the owner of a non-chain store still believes that his god(s) still have power over his life.”
Often the Buddist and Toaist people of Hong Kong worship dieties and ancestors of both religions.  Shrines of ancestors are usually inside the home, while shrines to gods are placed outside.  Each profession has their own god, consequently, different stores have their own unique shrine to their god.  And these shrines are often small, and placed directly by the entrance to a store.  This makes it easy to pay homage and worship the shrine to the god while entering and leaving.  By worshipping the gods, it is hoped that one will reap the benefits of the god’s help. 

Tatoo lore

“In Chinese, it doesn’t actually mean anything, because they forgot a line. So but yeah, this tattoo actually has this really interesting story to it. It’s um, like, me and my friend were like, oh my gosh, you know just sitting there, my friends like, I really want to get a tattoo. And I’m like, oh yeah okay, you know you just say things, like I’m going to go to the beach but you never actually go to the beach. But like, you know, we’re just, we talk a little bit, we get in the car. And she’s like, you know, I really do want to get a tattoo. And I’m like, okay. So then she gets in her car, turns it on, starts driving.  We ended up driving to a tattoo parlor. So literally, its three hours later and I walk out with a tattoo.  This is when I was eighteen years old, I didn’t just turn eighteen, but like you know it was kind of like that eighteen year old, you know, thing.   I was back home in Denver. And um, the funny thing was that um, that like, um, part of why, um, its folklore is that um, it’s kind of like um, like, why I have it is to, because it never goes away. And it’s like, it means um, sunrise. And to me like, after every night there is always a dawn. And it’s like, it reminds me of that, whenever people ask me, I can be like, oh yeah, I can tell them that and it’s kind of cool that way.”

LM’s tattoo is a permanent reminder to her that the world and life is cyclical. Additionaly, it is a reminder of that period of time of her life, and the friend she was with.  Although the tattoo artist forgot to draw one line making it so that the tattoo isn’t even Chinese, it is still an important symbol to LM.  People get various types, styles and designs of tattoos for many reasons.  But the one thing that is similar about them is their permanence.  Like a yearly holiday or festival, a tattoo can serve to remind the individual, or individuals who share a tattoo, of something important about themeselves and their life.  While some tattoos might look identical or similar, on different people they almost always have a different story and meaning behind them.