Author Archives: Jesus Garcia Jr.

Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas – New Year Tradition


“For New years my family eats collard green and black eyed peas. The black eyed peas symbolize good luck and fortune, the collard greens represent money and wealth. So that’s like a story for new years.”

Background information: The informant is a USC student, she is from the Bay area but has family scattered all over the south.

Context: This is a New Year’s Tradition that never changes. The informant began doing it ever since she was a little kid. She still partakes in the tradition to this day.

Personal Analysis: Different families have different customs and traditions for New Year’s. My family does a similar thing. Instead of collard greens and black eyed peas, my family celebrates with grapes and champagne. Each person eats 12 grapes, each grape symbolize 1 month out of the year. Everyone has a glass of champagne that they use to give cheers to everyone else in the room. You have to go around and “clink” (touch glasses) with everyone before you can drink it.


Cin – Turkish Demons

Piece: We have these things Cin, pronounced jin, uhm and like plural you would say cinler, because there are plenty, and they’re like these little demons, uhm I’m like hella fucking scared of these, these little shits, parents and grandparents can use these to scare little kids out of doing literally anything, and the biggest one being staying out until dark. Uhm the main one was my grandmother would say that after the sunset prayer, because in Turkey a mosque prays 5 times a day, and so like the equivalent of a preacher, at the top of the mosque sings a prayer 5 times a day, the one that represents sunset, if you stay past that prayer, these things would come out and eat you or haunt you.  You can actually release these on people, like a curse, we had a few like old women in my village who had a very powerful third eye and if they said a bad prayer towards you, they could curse you with these like “I release the cins on you” or something like that. So some people if they were cursed I remember hearing, uhm they could not sleep for days, they would wake up from their sleep because they see these in their dreams. But it seems like a dream even though it’s actually real, they are there, its just once they disappear, like the people who are cursed they think they are sleeping, but they are actually awake when they see theses creatures, it’s just that when they’re terrorized enough, they think they have woken  up from a dream, or a nightmare.

Background information: The informant is a USC student. Originally from a small village in Turkey, she relocated at the age of 10 to the United States.

Context: Apparently these demons were introduced to kids at a very young age. They are used to keep kids in line whenever they want to act rebellious. The informant remembers these so vividly because they used to scare the living daylight out of her as a kid.

Personal Analysis: A trend that I have noticed among interviewees is that most of their parents use some sort of story to control their kids. It’s almost as if “fear” is the only way parents can assert dominance over their children. This collection is another example of just that: Parents using fear tactics to control their kids.

For another version of this myth, see (2019). OLD FEARS IN TURKISH CULTURE. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2019].

Wake your body, but don’t forget to wake your soul – Mexican Superstition


If you take your kids with you to the ranch, let’s say when you go work the field, and they fall asleep on the floor, because they are tired or because you are working. And you know how in the field the dirt is loose, and you know, when kids are young they are innocent, they are innocent until they become adults. So when they are kids, their soul is still really innocent too, because they don’t know anything yet. If you tell them that a certain bad spirit is nearby they won’t know what to make of it. So if your kid happens to fall asleep on the ground, the beliefs of the old times are that you have to grab a twig, or a branch and start hitting them. You have to yell their name and hit them at the same time. You do this so that their spirit can return back to their body when they wake up. You’ll know you accomplished this because they wake up crying. The same goes for when you fall somewhere, you know when you fall and you get spooked? It’s like your soul stays in the place where you fell. So when this happens, after someone has fallen, they will go grab a branch and start hitting themselves in order to wake their soul again.

Background Information: The informant was my aunt. She grew up in a small village in Mexico where superstitions and legends are very prominent.

Context: This is a very commonly known superstition amongst farmers in Mexico. Most villagers would take their kids with them to work because they had no babysitters to watch them while they were farming the fields.

Personal Analysis: As I was listening to this superstition, I was reminded of my younger sister. When she was younger, she would always wake up crying. My family and I never understood why, but after hearing this superstition I was introduced to a possible explanation.

La LLorona – A Mexican Legend


The only thing I grew up with is probably the same thing you grew up with, The legend of La LLorona. The legend states that a woman once drowned her kids in a river and forever hated herself for it. So when she died her soul still mourned the loss of her kids so her ghost roams the streets of Mexico crying for her kids. People say that if you hear her, and she sounds like she’s far away, then it means she’s really close to you. The same goes for the opposite, if you hear her close-by it means she’s really far away.

Background information: The informant is my cousin who grew up in a small village in Mexico. He is about 7 years older than I am.

Context: As described, this is something the informant heard a lot as a kid. Parents would use the legend of La LLorona to frighten their kids so they wouldn’t stay out too late at night.

Personal analysis: I never thought the legend of La LLorona would become such a well known legend. Seeing Disney turn it into a movie really put into perspective how exploitative capitalism can be. I take great joy in hearing legends like this being passed down from family members. But seeing a corporation use it to make money greatly discredits it.

For another version of this legend, see (2019). Horror Stories: The Legend of La Llorona. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2019].

Heal, Heal, little tail of the frog – Spanish Saying

Piece: “Something I heard a lot as a kid was Sana sana colita de rana, si no se sana hoy se sanara manana. Heard it from my grandma as a kid, she said it to me all the time, she’s a baller”

Background information: The informant is a very comedic student with an Argentinian background. Although he resides in the US, he strongly identifies with his Argentinian roots.

Context: This is a hispanic saying used whenever you got hurt as a kid. You’d run to your mom/dad crying about a new injury and they would say this while rubbing the area of pain. The informant heard this a lot from his grandma and it stuck with him because it’s a saying that’s used a lot in Latin countries. The saying translates to “Heal, heal, little tail of the frog. If you don’t heal today, you’ll heal tomorrow.”

Personal analysis: I can personally vouch for the informant. I also heard this a lot as a kid. Every time I got injured I would run to my mom and she would say this saying to make the pain go away. Although there’s no healing happening, it was used as placebo to force you to think that if it didn’t heal today, it would heal tomorrow. Almost like a reassurance that everything would be okay. The saying served no real purpose except that it would make you stop crying as soon you heard it. The saying includes the line “tail of the frog” but I never got around to asking why it was mentioned.  I just accepted it and moved on.