Tag Archives: Baby

Greek Mountain Village Tale

Text: In the remote mountain villages of Greece, connected by deserted roads, there’s a tradition: when faced with the unfamiliar, one should make the sign of the cross. A young woman was traversing these paths alone, a rarity as custom dictates that she should be accompanied by a male relative. Along her journey between two villages, she stumbled upon an infant. Initially, she felt no need for the protective ritual because it was only just a child. However, instinct prevailed, and she made the sign of the cross just before touching the baby. To her astonishment, the infant spoke in a chilling tone, revealing itself as a demon. It confessed that had she not performed the sign, it would have taken her to hell.

Context: When he was 12 years old, the informant  heard a story during a coffee hour following a Greek Orthodox church service. An elderly Greek woman, who had grown up in a small village but now lived in the Bronx, shared the tale, alternating between Greek and English. His mother helped translate parts of it for him. He noted that he hates the story and thinks it is “hickish” and backwards. He thinks that it’s very uneducated and the type of thing you would hear in a small town. As a Christian he doesn’t like that type of superstition/ fear element being connected to his faith.

Analysis: This story reflects the deep rooted christian beliefs held by those communities and their diaspora here. Greece has one of the highest rates of Orthodox Christianity in the world and when isolated in small mountain villages, stories like that definitely will arise. I think it reflects the dangerous conditions of the time, the informant specifically made sure to point out that the woman shouldn’t have been traveling alone because it was too unsafe but she was anyway. At the time in these tiny villages The churches were the sources of protection and knowledge for the people living there, and this story reflects that they listen to the Church’s authority. 

Miracle During Birth and Visit from an Angel (Memorate)


Informant (talking to daughter): “When you were born, they took you away to check you. They did a scan and they said there were calcifications in your brain. I was really sad and really worried, plus you were premature— you were born early— so you were really tiny, you needed oxygen and all different things. But anyway, when I was in my bed in the hospital, I was crying because I was just sad and I had been worried about you and I was sleeping. In the middle of the night, I felt a smooth whisper of wind go across the side of my left cheek and a Voice said, “Trust and believe.” It woke me up out of my sleep and I was like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god,’ so I rang for the nurse and I said ‘Was somebody here in my room?’ The nurse said ‘No, nobody came into your room we’ve been sitting out here.’ And I said, ’But I heard somebody I heard a voice, I felt them.’ The nurse said this was the cancer ward prior and you’re not the first person who has felt things on this floor. So somebody was there and somebody wanted me to be okay. The next day, they took you in for scans again and the calcifications were gone.”


The Informant is a 48-year-old Black-American woman who is having a conversation with her daughter about the girl’s birth. This story is from the Informant’s personal experience. Informant believes this was an interaction with an angel, rather than a “ghost” or “spirit.”


Similar to other memorates I collected, this spiritual experience took place when the Informant was sleeping. The dream space seems to be a common realm for spiritual contact and connection. The Informant’s experience also took place during a significant life event (birth) and time of uncertainty (medical complication). During emotional turmoil, the words “trust and believe” communicate faith and signify guidance. This may be a reason why the Informant classifies the Voice as an “angel” rather than a “ghost “or “spirit.” The reversal of fortune shortly after, when the baby’s medical complications magically resolve, could be another reason why the Informant perceives this as a divine interaction. 

Don’t be Born on Eclipses

Background: The informant is a 50 year old man. He was born in Tecate, Mexico, moving to California when he was young. He grew up with his four siblings and two parents, moving from location to location across California. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California. 

Context: The context was when watching an astronomy show together on a streaming platform. They made a mention of an eclipse.


UI: Now, one superstition that I grew up with, that I was very well aware of and it’s going to sound completely strange, is that pregnant women should not go outside when there’s an eclipse. If a pregnant woman is outside during the time of an eclipse like that somehow or other, because of the eclipse, that the baby will be born deformed. Now, the thing with the eclipse is that, in actual fact, I don’t really know how it works. I don’t know if it’s because, you know, maybe the rays of the sun get distorted or, you know, I mean look in aztec culture they would look at it [eclipses] when they occurred. During the times of the Aztecs it was sort of like,  the moon is fighting with the sun and and the sun is overcoming the moon, It’s just something I’ve always remembered as a kid.

Me: Who did you hear it from?

UI: I had heard it from my mom. I had heard it from friends.

Me: What about when your wife was pregnant?

UI: There was an eclipse, and after explaining it to her, she understood and stayed inside.


Informant: The informant understands that the superstition may be considered strange by many people, self-aware that the superstition may not be well spread throughout his family. However, it is clear that the informant still believes in superstition to a strong degree.

Mine: The superstition was something new to me. It reveals a few things about Mexican culture. The first is the protective nature over pregnant women and the baby they are carrying. Since women are treated very delicately by this superstition, it would be interesting to see how it compares with other Mexican folkloric ideas. Second, not wanting the women to be exposed during an eclipse so that the baby will not be deformed shows a societal, not just Mexican, belief against children who are not born healthy. It has some negative connotations that a baby with defects is not wanted. However, that is a more modern interpretation of the superstition, and placing it into a past time period, many women used to die during childhood or their children would die when extremely young. Anything would want to be done to protect the child and the mother. If a baby does have deformities, it could ned up hurting the mother or the child might not live for long, which was extremely concerning.

Indian Custom: Hair Cutting on First Birthday


My informant, NS, is an eighteen year old student at Tufts University. She was born and raised in Southern California. Her mother was born and raised in the Philippines, and her father is Indian but grew up in Scotland and Southern California. While her mother is the only member of her family to have moved away from the Philippines, much of her father’s family, including his father, siblings, and nieces and nephews, are also in Southern California, meaning lots of family time between NS and her extended family, especially her cousins. Her father’s side of the family continues many traditional Indian and Hindu practices in day to day life, and NS is also greatly influenced by her heritage. (I’ll be referring to myself as SW in the actual performance). 


NS: Indian people will shave the head of their baby when they turn 1, on their first birthday, because it’s believed that that means that their hair will come back stronger. My mom didn’t do it to me, but almost all my cousins and my dad did. 

SW: So is there greater significance to that or it’s more aesthetic? 

NS: It’s tradition. Thicker hair makes you beautiful, especially like, long, thick hair on girls. There are hair rituals, like before you go to bed your mom will oil your hair.  It’s like the longer your hair is, the more beautiful you are because it’s associated with wealth. So like if you have super long well-kept hair that’s a sign that you can afford it. I remember when I cut my hair short my grandpa was like devastated and I didn’t understand why until my dad told me about it.


I think it’s super interesting how we as humans can come to associate different things with beauty for reasons other than pure aesthetics. Sure, long and thick hair looks nice, but the fact that it can be associated with wealth and status as a subconscious trait of beauty or attractiveness is interesting. It reminds of the way that the “ideal” body shape for women has changed over time. Centuries ago, it was not trendy to be thin, as thinner bodies were associated with not being able to afford food. Consequently, people who were a bit more curvy were considered more desirable, such a body type implied a certain level of wealth and status that could afford more than the bare minimum amount of food required to stay alive. 

Infant Looking at its Reflection

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from dialogue between myself, GK, and the informant, MB. 

MB: One superstition I know of and believe in is to never show a baby that is younger than 1 year old its reflection in the mirror. If you do, it supposedly brings bad luck to your kid. 

GK: Where did you hear this from?

MB: My mother told me.

Background: The informant is a 26 year old women who is currently raising a baby. She says she was told about this superstition from her mother recently, who followed the superstition as well while raising the informant. This piece of folklore is very important to the informant due to the fact that she is a mother and she will always want what’s best for her kid. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this superstition face to face

My Thoughts: In my opinion, this superstition is not true. I believe kids at that age cry when they see their reflections because they are not smart enough to know what’s going on yet. Plus babies just cry a lot in general. I also think this way because while looking online, I was not able to find anything on this superstition, which makes me wonder where it originally came from. It could be something that is just spread amongst her family. That’s what makes small forms of folklore like this interesting. They are so small, that you just wonder what event must’ve happened to spark it and thus engage its spread. The closest thing I could think of, is the “Bloody Mary” Myth, which originated in England. It makes me wonder if this lore maybe originated as its own version of Bloody Mary. It’s interesting to think of.

Solly, Meilan. “The Myth of ‘Bloody Mary’.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 12 Mar. 2020, www.smithsonianmag.com/history/myth-bloody-mary-180974221/.