Chew on a Piece of Thread

Informant: B is a 20-year old born and raised in Southern California. He and his family are Jewish, and are all involved in theater.

Main Piece:

Informant: “Something my mom always told me is: if you’re wearing a garment of clothing that is actively being sewn or mended or stuff of that nature, you need to chew on a piece of thread.”

Interviewer: What happens if you don’t?

Informant: “Well, bad luck. There are all sorts of associations to death shrouds and dying, so it’s pretty bad to do.”

Background Information about the Performance: The informant’s mother told him this superstition when he was younger. The family frequently sews clothes due to their involvement with the theater.

Context of Performance: The piece is told as a warning against bad luck, mostly during situations in which people are mending clothes.

Thoughts: The informant noted that although he is not very superstitious, he very much believes this superstition. I was not aware of this superstition, but was aware of other sewing-related superstitions, such as knotted threads signifying an argument in the future, or not leaving something unsewn through New Years.