My informant told me a story about what he calls the “Curse of the Bambinos”:
“My mother’s family was Italian and came to the United States when my grandparents were in their twenties. When my sister and I were babies, in our Brockton, Massachusetts house, my grandmother would visit. She insisted that she had a dream when both babies were born that a gypsy had spit at us. To fight off this curse she hung in our crib a little carving of a fist with fingers wrapped around an extended thumb, the gesture used to ward off curses and the evil-eye. Even though my mother thought it really old fashion and crazy, she let her mother hang these charms at the head of each crib.”
My informant said that he and his sister often tell that story because they think it was so odd. They do not believe in the “Curse of the Bambino”, but they do appreciate it as part of the beliefs of the culture that they come from.
I believe that this is an important piece of folklore because it shows that although people can recognize that certain superstitions are probably not true, they still keep them alive out of respect for their heritage. It upholds the sense of identity that they get from their history and traditions.