Dreams of Death Bringing Health: Folk Belief

“The one time I told my dad, he was like ‘oh, actually, in our culture that’s not as bad as you think because when you dream of someone dying, they opposite happens in real life and they’re actually rewarded with more years to live.’”

In Ethiopian culture, dreams are a very big deal alongside religion. The informant explained to me that she dreams a lot, but that a lot of her dreams are very dark. For instance, she often dreams that either just her dad, just her mom, or both of her parents were dying or had died. At first, these dreams terrified her and kept her from telling her parents because she initially saw this as a bad omen. A huge part of her fear came from her being an only child and realizing that if her parents died she would lose everyone in her immediate family.

Eventually, she mentioned it to her dad and he explained that she did not need to worry because it was actually a blessing in a sense. While this did not make the dreams less awful, she felt less scared they were an evil omen that would come true. She jokes now that her parents will live until they are 230 years old with the amount of times they have died in her dreams.

The informant relayed this to me while we were sitting on a bench on the USC campus.

Dreams are something that people are always trying to figure out. There are books written about them, extensive studies about them have been done and even more things that circulate orally with no real idea where it came from. For instance, I have heard that if you are dreaming of someone, it means they were thinking about you before they fell asleep or that what you eat before you sleep effects your dreams.

With this case in particular, I feel like some people would try to relate it to something scientific. However, I think that there is a lot to be said of there being folklore about it in that it must have been a big enough thing for people to have developed this belief about them.