Interviewer: “Where did you learn the superstition about waiting thirty minutes after eating to go in the ocean?”
Informant: “Oh, that? Everybody did. You would be struck dead, I mean you would… you would seize up in a cramp and go to the bottom. I mean, we all lived in fear of that. I bet you your mom had that too. You know, you would go to the beach for the whole day, and the moms would bring lunch or something, and then you had to bloody well sit there for longer than thirty minutes, it just was forever! (laughs)”
The informant indicated that this was a highly pervasive belief during her childhood that almost every beach goer subscribed to.
This was recorded during a conversation at the informant’s home in San Diego, CA.
Although I am familiar with this superstition having grown up near the beach, it seems pretty clear that actual belief in this superstition has decreased dramatically. I have heard it mentioned but have yet to meet a single person that actually takes this advice to heart. Interestingly, the informant proceeded to describe everyone’s fascination with sunbathing at the time directly after this, which might suggest that this belief could serve as an excuse to avoid the water and simply sit in the sun all day.