Snow Day Ritual

Informant: I grew up in a place where there was a lot of snow and snow days so like on nights when we thought we would have a snow day, we would all like put our pajamas on inside out and flush ice cubes down the toilet.

The ritual was done in hopes of bringing a blizzard so bad that it would cancel school. The informant learned the ritual from her peers in elementary school as the children would always talk about it during times of cold weather. The informant herself passed the superstition on to her younger siblings with whom she continued performing the ritual.

Collector: Did you perform these actions when the weather was looking bad to in hopes of making it worse, or when the weather was not so bad in order to change it?

Informant: We definitely did it when there was already a threat of bad weather. We weren’t trying to create bad weather out of good weather. We just wanted to intensify the bad weather resulting in a snow day!

Collector: What is the significance of turning your pajamas inside out?

Informant: I think it was a symbolic gesture. To bring the luck with us as we slept.

Collector: Did both actions have to take place together in order for this to work?

Informant: I don’t think so. I think the most common snow day ritual was the pajamas but my family did the ice cubes for added effect.

Collector: Why do you think this ritual came about if there were already plenty of snow days? What were the children trying to do? Was this an attempt to influence the weather or a way to celebrate what they thought was going to happen.

Informant: I think it was a way to unite in spirit when anticipating a possible snow day. It was an exclamation of excitement and anticipation. Of course, there were times we did it which did not result in a snow day, but it was a fun ritual that united us all.

I would speculate that this ritual came about as an attempt by children to take control. As children, everything from daily schedule, outfits and meals are decided for children by various adults. Rituals like this provide them the idea that they can control some aspect. By creating a ritual that is meant to control the weather, and as a result, whether or not school occurs, children can feel as if their taking control and have a say in matters.