Author Archives: Sara Dina

Punching roof of car when running a yellow light for good luck

Okay, so whenever I drive and I’m hitting a yellow light like I’m going across the intersection and the light turn yellow, I hit the top, the roof of my car, just for like a symbol of good luck. I originally learned it from one of my friends from the Midwest and I think it’s like, I think it’s more of like a Midwestern thing, but I kind of adopted it as my own and we like all punch the roof of our cars for good luck just to hope like we don’t get caught and we like pass the signal. No cops catch us, but yeah.

Context: The informant is from San Diego, but learned this good luck ritual from friends who are from Texas and Kansas.

Analysis: The punching of the roof is to ensure that the driver does not get into an accident or that anything bad happens to them while they are running the yellow light. Since running a yellow light is not actually illegal, choosing to speed up instead of slowing down is deliberate, and the punching of the roof could be to reverse any karma coming from violating the yellow light.

Korean Birthday Soup

Let’s see. Okay, so there’s a Korean tradition. It’s called seimitsu. But In Korean it’s called miyeok guk. And my mom makes it for me every single birthday. I think I’ve had it on every single one of my birthdays and like so have all my siblings, like my dad has had the soup on like all of his birthdays too. And it’s a, it’s like a tradition and it’s like a symbol of good luck. And also it’s like a way of like honoring like your mom for like giving birth to you because like seaweed has a lot of like health benefits. And it’s like really good for like, um, I don’t know what it’s like, necessarily good for, but it’s like good for like, bearing children, that kind of stuff. So like, it’s just like a way to honor your parents and like a symbol of good luck because it’s like a tradition that you have every single year.

Context: The informant and their mother are Korean, and this birthday soup is a traditional Korean dish.

Analysis: The connection between the health benefits of the seaweed and the honoring of the mother makes sense, because seaweed has a lot of minerals and vitamins, and antioxidant properties. In this way, the soup is definitely connected to the importance of family and honoring your parents, as well as being a birthday tradition.

License Plate Game

Ok so the game is the license plate game, and everyone has a different way of playing it, but how me and my friends back home play it, is if we’re on a long road trip or any car ride we… if we see a license plate for out of state, I’ll say the license plate like “Alabama” and punch the person closest to me, but I think that might just be like a west coast thing.

The participant is from San Diego, and plays this game with their friends there.

I personally don’t play the license plate game this way, I only push people in the car if I see a Volkswagen Beetle, then I say “punch buggy yellow” and punch someone (if the car is yellow), and I am from Ohio so maybe this is just a west coast thing or a regional thing.