Author Archives: mooring

Boston College Football Cheer

Context: The informant is my brother in law (BC). He studied at Boston College and was a big fan of the football team. The following ritual is performed in the student section of the football stadium and both he and I have participated in it.

Main Text: BC: “At every home football game at BC it was a tradition or a ritual to throw someone up in the air every time the Eagles scored. You would throw the person up in the air, like they were crowd surfing, as many times as there were points up on the board for us. So if Boston College scored the first points with a touchdown, you’d throw the person up 7 times while everyone counts them out. It was a really fun thing we did but I’m not sure how it started, it’s probably been around for a while.”

Analysis: Football is a sport that’s full of traditions and camaraderie; teamwork and community are a huge part of the sport. This ritual at Boston College emulates the sense of community that both a college and a football team can create within a group of people. It is a great way to make the crowd feel like they are a part of the game and adds to the excitement of the Eagles scoring. I visited my sister and my now brother in law at Boston College when I was younger and I was lucky enough to be thrown up in the air when the Eagles scored. It is a memory I won’t soon forget.

New Orleans Haunted House

Context: The informant is my father (DM) who grew up in California. He told me about how his father, my grandfather, grew up in a haunted house when he was young. The house is located in New Orleans and was supposedly home to the pirate Jean Lafitte, who now haunts the house. The following excerpt is from a passage written about the house that my dad showed me.

Main Text: “Legends are many of this old Pirate House. One has it that a secret tunnel runs from a sub-cellar into the Gulf, and through this tunnel, pirates transferred their booty from ships to their strongholds beneath the house.”

“This old house at one time sheltered Jean Lafitte. It was more than a century ago that Lafitte, during the historic days of private terror along the Gulf Coast, captured and scuttled ships form almost every country.”

Analysis: This haunted house in New Orleans that my grandfather lived in interests me because a “pirate ghost” seems like a blend of two outdated beings. Pirates are a thing of the past and the belief that the ghost of Jean Lafitte still haunts this house in New Orleans pays homage to his historical significance and notoriety. My grandfather also supposedly searched for the tunnel underneath the house but was unable to find it. It is still important to note the presence of Jean Lafitte and his legacy in this location regardless of the factuality of him haunting the house.

Black Joy Parade

Context: The informant is my sister (LC) who lives in Oakland and has become an active participant in the community.

Main Text: “A celebration that I attended was this one in Oakland called ‘The Black Joy Parade’ in February. The celebration uses joy as a form of resistance to celebrate all the achievements and culture of the Black community, despite all the years of suffering and injustice. It’s this parade with cars, dancers, and different marching groups of black cultural groups. There are black entertainers and different artists who promote their work. It was an awesome experience and I really liked the idea that the black community was fighting their oppression through self-expression.”

Analysis: This celebration is interesting because it shows how the black community has created its own culture in the United States, undeterred by the oppression they have faced for centuries. By overcoming their disadvantages through joy, they change the narrative and empower themselves.

Filipino Money Dance

Context: The informant is my aunt and will be referred to as L.I. She is originally from Hawaii and is of Filipino descent. She grew up in Hawaii, but she now lives in San Diego with her husband (my uncle) and their two children. The following text describes the Filipino Money Dance which was performed at her wedding.

Main Text: “The money dance is a common tradition in Filipino culture and it is performed at weddings. The DJ will call out one line for men and one line for women, and they usually pass out pins. Then one by one people will approach the bride and groom to dance with them. After they dance they use the pins to pin money to the bride or groom as a sign of good fortune as they begin their journey as husband and wife.”

Analysis: It is common for people to give gifts or money to newlyweds to wish them good fortune or to help them start their new life together. This Filipino tradition turns this practice into a fun, engaging activity that expresses the relationship between the guest and the newlywed. It also reminds me of a Polynesian tradition where during graduations, the graduate is presented with a wreath of money that they wear around their neck. It is interesting how monumental life events are met with monetary gifts to help the person find success in this next phase in their life.

Hula

Context: The informant is my aunt and will be referred to as L.I. She is originally from Hawaii and is of Filipino descent. She grew up in Hawaii, which is where the Hula dance and its importance, but she now lives in San Diego with her husband (my uncle) and their two children.

Main Text: L.I: “No one speaks true Hawaiian anymore so the Hula is how Hawaiians communicate now, by portraying words in a visual dance form. The two main categories of Hula are Hula Auana and Hula Kahiko. The Auana is much more flowy and common now, it is usually accompanied by song, guitar, and a ukulele. Kahiko, on the other hand, is more like a slap dance like the Samoan Haka and is accompanied by chanting”.

M.M.: “Is there a reason for there being two separate forms?”

L.I.: “The Kahiko is how they communicated in ancient times and the Auana is more modern and Americanized, its a lot more accepted. The hand motions within Hula dances are used to represent the words in a song or chant. For example, the fluid hand motions in the Auana can signify nature: the swaying of a tree in the breeze or a wave in the ocean.”

Analysis: Hula dances have always been an important part of Hawaiian culture, they are performed at all Luaus and weddings. I find it interesting how the Hula dance transformed in order to be more accessible and appealing to visitors from the United States. It demonstrates how the Hawaiian islands adopted to their new identity within the United States of America. The more fluid Auana form of Hula is very recognizable within the continental United States whereas the Kahiko is not.