Blue Ceilings

Interviewer: Could you tell me about a superstition you have learned from your family in Alabama?

AC: Yes, one in particular that my family took and uses is we have our ceilings in our rooms painted blue. 

Interviewer: What’s the reasoning for that?

AC: The superstition behind it is that people believe that if your ceilings and doors are painted blue then they block spirits and ghosts from passing through to the room. My mom calls it “sleeping under blue skies”.

Interviewer: Why does the blue stop the spirits or ghosts?

AC: It’s supposed to represent water. I guess that they can’t pass through water. 

Interviewer: How do you feel about participating in this superstition? What does it mean to you?

AC: I really like it because like most little kids I would be scared of monsters and ghost being in my room while I was sleeping my room and my parents would tell me that they couldn’t come in because of the blue and it would always reassure me.

Interviewer: Where else have you seen this?

AC: My mom’s whole side of the family lives in Alabama, grandparents and both sets of cousins, and they all use it. But I have seen it in other places in the south at friends homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. So it’s more of a southern thing than an Alabama thing. 

Context:  The informant is an eighteen-year-old young woman from Dallas, Texas. Her mother is from Alabama where the rest of her side of their family still lives. She frequently visits Alabama and her family there so she is very familiar with their superstitions. The explaining of this superstition was collected in person at the informant’s dorm in Dallas, Texas.

Analysis: This is a fascinating superstition that is used to calm the fear of ghosts and spirits that kids have. I never realized that this is why blue is often a color of rooms in the south but now I will recognize the meaning behind it when I see this. It is also interesting that this is something the informant’s immediate and distant family all participates in.