Barefoot in the House

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/17
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Informant Information:

Michelle Pina is a student at the University of Southern California. She is from a Cuban background, and is originally from Miami, FL before moving to Los Angeles, CA for college.

Urban Legend:

“Whenever you’re walking around the house with your bare feet, no socks or shoes, when your grandmother or your mom sees you they’re gonna get mad because they think if you walk around barefoot on the ground you’re gonna get sick. Like because they think the ground is cold and your feet are awesome receptors of temperature so if your feet are cold your body’s immune system slows and you get sick.”

Q: Have you ever asked your grandmother/mother why they think that?

“I think it’s from their mothers telling them about it”

Q: Did you ever do research?

“Me in a fit of rage after my grandmother yelled at me for not having slippers in the house, I decided to do my own research and found that it was just an old wives tale and I told my grandmother and my mom and my mom believes me and my grandmother doesn’t.”

Analysis:

The informant’s old wive’s tale is fairly common among other Hispanic households. The informant told me her grandmother said this was supposed to prevent sickness. This is true in the present sense, but this wive’s tale could be traced back to class ranking. In Cuba and many other Hispanic countries, being barefoot is associated with being poor, as the many people in the country that are barefoot are peasants on the streets. Though this might not be what the informant’s grandmother intended, it could definitely be the origin of this old wive’s tale.