Sea Cucumber Kissing

Background: The informant is a 14-year-old high school freshman living in El Segundo, California. The informant is my brother.

Context: After family dinner, my brother overheard a conversation about folklore I was having with my parents and he seemed interested, so I decided to explain the field of folklore to him and even interview him on some of the folklore he was aware of.

Main Piece: The informant described that on a fifth-grade field trip to Catalina Island off of the coast of California there was a specific point where the local workers at CIMI (Catalina Island Marine Institute) brought out a sea cucumber from one of the tanks they had and told the class that if you kissed the sea cucumber you would receive 7 years of good luck.

Interpretation: This was actually a piece of contagious superstition that I was already aware of. Years prior, I had been on the same field trip my brother went on since we went to the same elementary school. I believe that the reason kissing a sea cucumber yields good luck is because it takes a bit of courage to do it. While it might be easy to sit in comfort and imagine giving a little smooch to a sea cucumber, when you actually have one of those slimy, salty, and gross looking creatures in front of you and you are asked if you want to kiss it, there is a solid chance that you will simply refuse. However, mustering the stomach to kiss one of those slimy things ends up rewarding the brave with a solid seven years of good fortune!