Cigarette Ritual

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Japanese-American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

My informant states that he and his close friends share the practice of choosing a cigarette in a freshly purchased pack of cigarettes and flipping it over, so that out of all the cigarettes that have the butt sticking out, there is one odd white one. This supposed cigarette that is odd one out is a lucky cigarette. My informant states that he always save this cigarette for a bad day and once he smokes it he will either have a good day or a great night. But the one catch is that the buyer of the pack cannot choose the lucky cigarette, a friend must always be at the time you purchase a new pack and also choose it at the point to get the luck charm.

My informant believes in this whole-heartedly and thus tells this to all of his friends and makes sure that they follow the rules and also reap the benefits of this superstition. He states that he was told about this through his older friend, when he bought a pack of cigarettes for the first time.

This is an interesting piece of folklore, as it is a fun practice for such a bad habit. I believe whoever started this piece of folklore was trying shed a positive light on smoking cigarettes. It is also an interesting ritual started by visuals as the image of a cigarette just being the odd one out in a pack of cigarettes is like finding a four-leaf clover in grass. The visual of picking a certain “blessed object” appeals to people to brighten up their day.