Don’t Put Your Purse On the Floor

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
Residence: Georgia
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/25/2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Context

This proverb is collected during a conversation I had with a friend when she came over for dinner at my house.

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Performance

The following is a proverb told to me by the interviewee.

I: Don’t put your purse on the floor or you’ll always be broke

M: Who told you this?

I: It’s just everyone in my family

M: Who did you hear it from?

I: I heard it from my mom who heard from her mother. It’s a superstition in the African American community and I think as time went on of course with the transatlantic slave trade it was mixed in with some European values and ended up being what it is now.

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Analysis

This proverb comes from the African-American community and is about a money superstition. The idea is that because people carry their money and cards inside their bags if you put the bag on the floor is showing disrespect and disregard for your money. For the interviewee, she sees this proverb as one that derives from Africa and is now a part of her heritage. What is interesting is that this belief or superstition can also be traced back to Ancient China with Feng Shui, and also to Turkey. Many different cultures have the view that the floor is associated with something dirty and low, and thus something precious like one’s wealth should not be in contact with it.