Tag Archives: Angels



Hungarians celebrate their version of Christmas, or Karácsony, on the night of December 24th. All day long, children are sequestered from their families and sent upstairs while the rest of the family prepares the Christmas tree and presents downstairs in secret. Come evening, all of the parents come upstairs and tell the children that they have spent the whole day preparing the Christmas feast, and that it is time to wait for the tree and presents to arrive. The parents often would use strings to set up a bell contraption which they would ring after a certain amount of time to signal that the tree and gifts arrived. In Hungary, Jesus and the angels were supposed to bring all of the gifts and decorations on Christmas, and the disembodied bell signified when they had arrived. After the bell rang, the whole family would go downstairs where the food and gifts were waiting for them. Then, they would then gather around the tree and sing hymns for 15 minutes before opening presents and having the feast. 


The informant participated in this tradition when he was living in Hungary as a child. He noted how Christmas in Hungary was more centered around religion, specifically in that Santa Claus was not part of the holiday (and had his own separate holiday earlier in the month) and instead it was Jesus and the angels who brought the presents. 


Many Western countries, especially the United States, celebrate Christmas in a more secular way. However, Christmas celebrations in Hungary are more closely aligned with the biblical tradition. In Hungarian Christmas traditions, there is an emphasis on the “miracle,” the spontaneous and magical appearance of gifts and Christmas decorations. Jesus and his angels themselves come down and bring all of the presents, food, and decorations instead of Santa Claus, who is a fictitious, secularized version of St. Nicholas. The purpose of this holiday is reflected in its form: to celebrate the quintessential “Christmas miracle,” or the immaculate conception where Mary conceived Jesus as a virgin. Hungarians do not lose sight of the central Christian focus of Christmas: to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the immaculate conception. And in Hungarian tradition, the central miracle which Christmas represents is mirrored by the simulation of a miracle in how it is celebrated. In other words, the miracle of Jesus’ birth is celebrated by the fabrication of another miracle, where the parents try to make their children believe that Jesus and the angels magically came down to give them presents. In addition, Hungarians celebrate Christmas on the night Jesus was actually born (Christmas Eve), not the morning after like many Western traditions. So clearly, Hungarian Christmas celebrations more accurately reflect canonical Christian tradition, adhering more strictly to Christian values. This stands in contrast to Western society which remains more impartial towards religion and how it is practiced. Christmas has become such a widespread holiday in America that much of its religious significance has been forgotten. However, in Hungary, I firmly believe that Christianity still has a very strong influence over the politics and customs of the nation. 

Angel Childhood Musical Ballad: Legend/Myth


Me: “Did you grow up hearing any bedtime stories?”

CC: “Um not really, instead my mom used to sing me a song before falling asleep about an angel”.

Me: “Can you sing it for me?”

CC: “Sure…Angél de mi guardia…dulce compañero…no me dejas sola…de noche ni de dia”.

Me: “Who is this angel?”

CC: “Well in my Catholic Mexican household we often believe that angels are here on earth to protect us especially at night and during the day. Growing up I was told that the angels will come in our dreams and we can see what they looked like if we really believed. Usually they are said to be dressed in white and have a calm demeanor. Part of the reason why my parents would sing this song to us during bedtime was to make sure the angels would come to protect us as we rested. If they didn’t sing it to us, the angels wouldn’t be in our dreams and we wouldn’t be protected at night”.

Translation: “Angel of my guard, sweet companion, you do not leave me alone, night or day”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-CC’s relationship to this piece stems from her Catholic Mexican culture given that her Mexican household consisted of religious beliefs that resulted in comfort. CC would hear this musical legend/myth from her mother as she would often sing it to her when she would go to sleep or had trouble falling asleep. CC interprets this musical legend/myth as a calming coping mechanism that helps her fall asleep quicker. In actuality, CC interprets this musical ballad as a prayer-like story that helps her connect to her faith. 

Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

-The overall cultural value within this musical legend/myth stems from the Mexican Catholic culture that can be seen represented in the childhood home of CC within her family’s overall spiritual and religious beliefs. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this musical legend/myth is that it allows the individual to inherit the calmness and the overall reassurance that results from their conscious beliefs. I see this musical legend/myth as an overall concept of protection and safety that is implemented by a caring caregiver. Considering that I have heard about similar legends/myths regarding angels myself, I interpret this musical legend/myth to be a validating motive that can be seen as a stress reliever or as an act of reassurance considering protection is granted as you rest. Considering that I don’t have similar experiences with hearing this specific musical ballad, I can still relate to it given the fact that I have grown up hearing mythical legend stories revolving around angels within my Catholic religion as well. The mythical legend that I grew hearing about was the guardian angel named Michael. The similarity within the angel named Michael and the guardian angel within CC’s ballad is that both angels are called upon for protection and guidance. Unlike CC’s ballad, the angel guardian Michael is said to heal those who are sick while they rest. Considering the similar approach between these two mythical legends, it is safe to assume that these two stories can be claimed as different oikotypes. Considering this mythical legend stems from religious perspectives, it can be claimed as an overall supernatural-individualistic process that plays into the category of sacred myths.  

White Duck Feathers

Main Content:

I: Informant, M:Me, R: Roommate

I: My grandma has this thing, I think its duck, like very white duck feathers but if you find some of the ground she says its good luck and it’s like angel’s wings.

R: Awe

I: And if you find, and then like you have to do something like touch it or something that makes you get the good luck.

M: Awe that’s cute. Oh I like that. *Laughs* My mom would probably be like don’t touch the duck wings you’re gonna get… you’re gonna get rabies. 

I: Well like the little feathers that fall to the floor that fall off I think ducklings so they are very small and white .

R: Yeah, no yeah my mom would be like you are gonna get sick.

M: *Laughs* yeah

 I: Yeah I don’t touch feathers either 

Context: The informant’s grandmother taught him about this when he was like and told his touching white duck feathers (like the ones from ducklings) are good luck.

Analysis: One major thing that stuck on to me here was how this would never be able to be popularized in America in current day. Both the informant’s roommate and I, who have both lived in the U.S. for a substantial amount of time, agreed that our parents would explicitly tell us not to touch the feathers, for fear of disease or germs. While the informant admitted to no longer touching the feathers after learning about germs and such, it still provides quite the contrast between the US and Norway and the ways we view nature. US views nature as a force against us, while Norway views it more as a force with them. I will say that the rationale behind this with it being ‘angel’ wings kind of gave me a warm and good feeling inside until I remembered all the times my mother has told me, ‘Do not pet or touch any wild or stray animals’ every time I travel alone, especially to a foreign country and she emphasizes that even if the locals touch them, I am not to under any circumstance. I definitely understand where the worry and anxiety originates but it is just so contrasted to what my informant said that his roommate and I laughed about it.

Angel Memorate – Georgia, U.S.A

“I was really young. I was, it was in Georgia. My Mom and my Dad were married at the time. My mom was at work, my Dad and my brothers were in the house sleeping. I could sleep so I – like taking a nap, it was midday I went out into our backyard and started swinging on the swings. I was facing away from the house. I was facing, like this hill that our backyard faced. And I was just swinging, running around, doing kids’ stuff and I suddenly heard my Mom’s voice calling my name – or what sounded like my Mom’s voice. It was a female voice. I turned around, and just as I turn around smoke starts coming out of the kitchen. Um, so I go running in there – the kitchen window, sorry the kitchen window. So I go running into the house and the – the kitchen’s on fire! And my Dad and my brothers were also so they had no idea. So I ran in there and I woke up my dad and my dad went and extinguished the fire and actually burned his hand in the process. And um, my Mom wasn’t home. So the voice that I heard, it was unexplained. It was a female voice that called my name and draw my attention to the fire as it began. So early on, and if it had been any later it might not have been able to be extinguished. And my family was inside asleep so who knows, you know, how bad it could have been.”

The informant is a 26-year-old cinematographer who grew up as a military brat moving every couple of years, before coming to Los Angeles, California for college and to work in the motion picture industry. He is the oldest of three boys and was recently married.

When asked what he thought it was the informant said, “I think it was an angel. I mean it was an angel or, or something along that line.” What had caused the fire initially was that there was a pizza box on the stove and his little brother had accidentally turned the stove on while climbing up on the counter to get something out of the cabinet. He said “There was no female that I knew that was there” and his Mom “didn’t even know about the fire until she came home.” He said “it was definitely a guardian angel or something.” He told me, “I didn’t know what [the voice] was until later on because I never, I wasn’t Christian or anything until my teens and then when I was saved then I realized, ‘Oh, I wonder if that’s what it was.’ To him what was significant was that his family was saved from great harm due to him hearing this voice. The informant says he usually tells this story whenever he is talking about miracles or God’s goodness, he called it a “praise report”.

I can see why one might be confused as to what to label this strange voice as. It didn’t move anything around like one might expect a ghost to do and he didn’t see the translucent form of a woman like we hear in many stories about ghosts. But most significantly what it did was good – it likely saved his family’s life. Stories about ghosts saving someone’s life are not characteristic. It is clearly a situation where the informant was trying to categorize something outside of scientific explanation or normal experience. As he says, when he heard an explanation that made sense of an experience, he integrated that explanation into his narrative. It happened to be that that explanation was of guardian angels in Christianity. Perhaps had he moved to Ireland and learned about friendly fairies (sí) he may have integrated this explanation into his memory. The key here is how closely the idea of guardian angels explained his unexplainable experience. In that he said it was “definitely” an angel says how well the concept makes sense in his mind.