Category Archives: Initiations


The Golden Arm

Context The story of The Golden Arm is a folktale dating back 200 years, originally conceived to discourage greediness. Mark Twain famously performed this ghost story, sometimes didactically as a way to teach the skill of storytelling. Importantly, the legend of The Golden Arm is an orally-told story. It is performed theatrically via word-of-mouth and… Continue Reading »

Chinese High School Military Training

Context: All across China students join a mandatory military training for two weeks to a month before officially entering a public high school. The training usually takes place in the school. Students live in their dormitories together, and parents are not allowed to visit. Trainings are conducted by soldiers and head teachers. 30 to 50… Continue Reading »

Indian Wedding Traditions – Stealing Shoes

Background: My informant, NS, is an eighteen year old student at Tufts University. She was born and raised in Southern California. Her mother was born and raised in the Philippines, and her father is Indian but grew up in Scotland and Southern California. While her mother is the only member of her family to have moved… Continue Reading »

Indian Custom: Hair Cutting on First Birthday

Background:  My informant, NS, is an eighteen year old student at Tufts University. She was born and raised in Southern California. Her mother was born and raised in the Philippines, and her father is Indian but grew up in Scotland and Southern California. While her mother is the only member of her family to have… Continue Reading »

Facebook Senior Names

Background:  My informant, AK, is a 19 year old student at the University of Michigan. She was born and raised in Southern California and is studying engineering. While in high school, AK was an active member and team captain of her school’s swim team. She attended the school from kindergarten until she graduated and knew… Continue Reading »