Folk-Belief of Protection

text: “My grandma carries a dried up banana leaf at all times, because when the Japanese invaded her island during World War 2, her family would hide under banana leaves. Now, she carries one around to give her protection and hope wherever she is, serving as a reminder of her culture, when she moved to the US when she was 30 years old.” -Informant

context: The informant’s grandmother is from Mindoro, Philippines, and during World War 2, her island was invaded. The informant is very inspired by his grandmother for having so much bravery, and now hangs banana leaves over his door to serve as a means of protection. She lived in a very remote area, on a rice farm with hundreds of banana trees. These trees have given her so much, so to this day, she still uses them to give her protection.

analysis: Similar to a Folk-Object, like an evil-eye, these banana leaves serve as protection from negative things. The superstition that she has, that these banana leaves protected her once, so they will protect her for the rest of her life, has been passed down to the informant. The story of the dried banana leaf being carried by the grandmother serves as an example of how folk beliefs can be passed down through generations and become deeply ingrained in a person’s cultural identity. It is a manifestation of the human need for protection and the desire to hold onto one’s cultural heritage for decades. It was her way of coping with the situation she was in, and now preserves that cultural memory.