Author Archives: Micah Light

Hawaiian Superstition: Sea-Frigate Birds

Type: Superstition/Folk Belief

  1. “In Hawaii, there was a large population of sea-frigate birds. They had black feathers and a red belly almost (laughter). They would fly around, above people, in both city areas and in the forest. They also had strange shaped wings, like swallow kind of wings. The birds would fly overhead and apparently, if you saw them fly above, you couldn’t stare, you had to just ignore them. You could NEVER point at them, if you did, then something bad would happen to you. Something really bad, but no one ever knew what. Just that one, really bad thing would happen, and you couldn’t avoid it.
  2. I obtained this piece of folklore from a family member, Jeff. Jeff is in his late 40’s, and he spent eleven years of his life in Hawaii, where he was born and raised. Living on an island, Jeff had lots of freedom, as you could never really get lost. When he was living there, him and his friends would explore around the island, but it was superstition that you could never physically point at this specific type of bird. Jeff and his friends spent a lot of time outside, and within his school friends and neighborhood friends, this superstition went around.
  3. Hawaii is known to be a tropical and natural place. There are all typed of birds, plants, and other natural life forms on all islands. Moreover, the amount of wildlife has been a source of folklore, especially in tropical places. The sea-frigate bird is not rare or becoming extinct, actually it is quite a common bird. However, the unique shape of their wings became a source of folklore. This superstition is passed around friend groups and family members.
  4. I personally do not understand this superstition. If the bird was rare or uncommon then I would understand a bit more as to why it could be a source of folklore, but again, currently, it does not quite make any sense to me. It seems like another silly superstition among children, not necessarily adults. Jeff does not believe in this anymore, and will point and stare at the bird.

Dybbuk Legend

Type: Legend

  1. “The ‘dybbuk’ is a part of Jewish folklore, that appears in the Talmud and the Old Testament. The dybbuk was also the subject of a recent theatrical play. It was very common in older generations, like my parents and their parents. The dybbuk is an evil spirit. It enters living people and takes their soul. He talks for them, acts for them, and assumes their identity. The dybbuk is detailed in all kinds of Jewish literature and folklore. It appears all over the place. I don’t believe it in of course!”
  2. I obtained this piece of folklore from my grandfather Don. Don was born in 1932, and his whole life has been very active in the Jewish community. Don has also been actively Jewish his whole life, and cares deeply about his faith. He heard this piece of folklore from both his parents and different Jewish texts that he came across in his lifetime. To him, it does not mean much, but he is interested in its reoccurrence throughout Jewish literature. The dybbuk is never featured in the bible, but starting in the 16th century, the legend started to appear in texts of Rabbi’s.
  3. In the bible/Torah, there is a notable amount of mythical creatures. However, the legends behind these creatures rarely have left the Torah. According to my grandfather, the dybbuk was popular among older generations (during the late 1800’s, early 1900’s), and circled around the European Jewish communities. My grandfather’s parents were from Poland, and I have no doubt the legend was popular in other European countries.
  4. I have never heard of this legend. From my understanding, the writings about the evil spirit originated in Europe and I do not think it spread to other countries, or maybe it did but it took a different form. I am also a bit surprised that this type of legend exists within Jewish communities, as Hell is not believed in the Jewish faith, or the devil.


For more about the dybbuk, go to


Story of Purim

Type: Legend

  1. “The story of Purim, from the Jewish faith, is actually a legend. It was written down in the book of Ester, in the Migillah, but there is no official author and there is no evidence to that this actually happened. It goes like this: the Jews got to Persia as prisoners in Babylon around 500 BCE, when the Babylonians destroyed the temple. When they did this they took many of the Israelites to Babylon as captives. Then, Babylon was captured by the Persians. Now Jews were under the rule of Persia. The King Asaverosh of Persia married Ester and she became the queen. He didn’t know she was Jewish. He had a prime minister, Haman. Haman decided he wanted to kill the Jews of Persia. Mordechai, Esters cousin, found out about Haman plans and told Ester to tell Asaverosh that she is Jewish, and all about Haman’s plans—she should ask him to stop. She did, and she saved the Jews of Persia from being killed. We celebrate Purim by wearing masks and costumes, we sing songs about how bad Haman is, how great Ester is.”
  2. I obtained this piece of folklore from my grandfather Don, although I am familiar with the story myself. Don was born in 1932, and his whole life has been very active in the Jewish community. Don has also been actively Jewish his whole life, and cares deeply about his faith. Don learned this story through his Jewish upbringing, learning it from Rabbi’s and family.
  3. This is a piece of Jewish folklore, and is the story behind the Jewish holiday of Purim. The story celebrates Jewish perseverance, survival, as well as Jewish pride. Every Jewish individual knows this story, or at least knows of it, as it is a very important holiday in the Jewish faith.
  4. I do not know if I believe that this actually happened, but I like to say I do. Apart of being Jewish is hearing all about the different times other populations tried to annihilate the Jewish people, and it’s nice to hear that this time it had a happy ending for the Jewish people.

Golem of Prague–Rabbi Lowe

Type: Legend

  1. “The legend goes like this. Golem, a humanoid figure that is made out of clay, came alive at certain times. The legend has it that Rabbi Lowe of Prague created the golem in the 1500’s, 1580 about. He was the chief Rabbi of Prague at the time and is still very famous. The golem was created to fight the anti-semetism that was prominent at the time, and so the Rabbi he created the humanoid figure out of clay to protect the Jewish people. If you go to Prague (like when we did) we followed my mother’s diary of her trip in 1927, and she went to the Jewish cemetery in the old Jewish section of Prague, and found Rabbi Lowe grave and put a stone on it. There is a statue of the Rabbi in the city to this day. This golem apparently inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstien. Some people even say that the remains of the golem are in the attic of the synagogue in Prague. There is even a restaurant in Prague named after the golem.”
  2. I obtained this piece of folklore from my grandfather Don. Don was born in 1932, and his whole life has been very active in the Jewish community. Don has also been actively Jewish his whole life, and cares deeply about his faith. Moreover, both of my grandparents have spent a significant amount of their life traveling the world, going to as many countries as possible. My grandfather first came about his legend from his mother, who visited Prague often. She would tell him about the legend, and eventually, he went there himself and learned more about the legend.
  3. This is a piece of Jewish folklore. Outside of the Jewish and Prague/European community, the legend would be unknown. Don’s mother came to the US from Poland, and brought the legend with her. In the United States, this legend probably is not popular/well known. But in all the European countries, the legend is in fact well known.
  4. I am really interested in this piece of folklore, especially how even today people still care out it. It is almost whimsical, on a light note, even though at the time the anti-Semitism was not.

Colombian Fable

Type: Folk Story

  1. “Ok so once upon a time there was an old lady, and she had nothing to eat. She only had meat, fruit, candies, eggs, bread and fish. She drank soup, chocolate milk, wine, tea and coffee. And she couldn’t find anything to eat or drink. This old lady didn’t have a place to live, except a big house with a garden. No one took care of her except from her family and a bunch of animals. She never had anywhere to sit except for couches, chairs and benches. She complained about not having enough clothes but she had a bunch of clothes, shoes as well, same thing. She spent the rest of her life complaining about how she hadn’t had enough. Then one day, she died, and all the stuff she didn’t use remained. God now gives us all the things that she didn’t use.”
  2. I obtained this piece of folklore from my friend Daniela. Daniela was born and partially raised (only for a couple years) in the country of Columbia, in the city of Bogota. This folk story was told to Daniela by her mother, and is a very popular folk story in Columbia. It is a story meant for children mainly, and is never told to adults. It is only told from adults to children. Daniela heard this story many times from her mother, and other Columbians reference the story as well in daily conversation, when talking about gratefulness and appreciation.
  3. This story is meant to be an ethical story, to teach children something about gratefulness and appreciation. The idea behind the story is to teach children not to take things for granted, and to appreciate everything they have in their life. Again, it is told by parents to their children, usually when they are young.
  4. I really enjoy this story, I was never told anything like it as a child. I think that it has elements of creation myths in it but it also teaches children important life lessons.