Tag Archives: blood

Bleeding on a costume is good luck for the actor

Interview and Context

CS: It’s just a saying. And I think its partially because there’s nothing you can do about it, and it’s a way of sort of justifying and making yourself feeling better that one: you may have hurt yourself, and two: that you may have, like, made a stain on a costume that you may or may not be able to remove as well as you would like?
Interviewer: So as far as you know its less of a superstition and more of a justification
CS: Ya. Hahaha.
Interviewer: When’s the first time you heard that?
CS: Probably the first time that I , probably when I was in college and… I don’t think, I don’t think I ever heard that outside of theater. I think I heard of it mostly, you know, like— it’s something I thought about, like, I’m sure I must have poked myself and may have bled on a garment when I was learning to sew like in home ec, as a teenager, but I don’t think that I heard of it more that, at a costume shop, that it’s good luck for the actor, y’know.
Interviewer: Good luck for the actor, bad luck for you.
CS: Right? Ya.
Interviewer: Any idea how long it’s been around? I know you said you he
HS: I have a feeling that this one is, a long time. I just have that feeling.
CS: Because people have been probably bleeding on costumes since costumes have been made.

Analysis

The first time the informant told me this proverb was when another worker poked themself with a needle while mending a costume. I later asked the informant to repeat the saying and their explanation for the sake of recording it.
This is an example of a proverb. I found it interesting that it is said so sarcastically, rather than earnestly. However, in other versions*, it is not necessarily sarcastic or bitter. Seeing that it isn’t a saying unique to making theater costumes—or unique to a bitter saying—the attitude with which a participant in this folklore says the proverb changes the intention of the proverb. The attitude also indicates that the saying is useful despite differing levels of belief in superstitions: the reciter may believe whole-heartedly that their drop of blood (it must be accidental) will give the actor a better performance. Or the reciter may not believe the proverb, but say it anyway, as participating in the tradition or just in case it is true.

*http://folklore.usc.edu/good-luck-to-bleed-on-designs-in-fashion-industry/

Good Luck to Bleed on Designs in Fashion Industry

This friend is a student studying fashion design at FIDM, and she often alters housemates’ old clothes or creates new designs when she doesn’t have schoolwork. She attends one particular class that requires she use a small mannequin and canvas to create fabric patterns.

Three females including myself were in the kitchen when I asked her whether the fashion industry has any superstitions. We held this conversation after a day of work, and we discussed other folk beliefs in the same sitting. The speaker said that it is good luck to bleed on new fashion designs because this means the designer put their ‘blood, sweat and tears’ into the piece.

*

In the fashion industry, “It is good luck to bleed on things. Like if you’re pinning stuff on your body form, and you prick your finger a little bit, and you get like a little blood on like your costume or your design, it is considered good luck.” The speaker said that she had accidently done this while creating her own designs, and that she learned this tip from a female professor.

Designers are not supposed to bleed on purpose. Doing so ruins the sentiment. I asked if blood was still a good sign if the design were made out of expensive fabric, and the speaker said yes, that’s not a problem because blood is very easy to wash out with hydrogen peroxide and warm water.

The speaker said that this superstition meant a lot to her because she has bled on past designs and believes this helped make these projects successful. “It’s kind of like that statement, like I put my blood sweat and tears into this. So like, I can’t tell you how many countless nights I have cried over literal costumes, trying to get them done. And then when they come out amazing. Like, that’s how I know. Like, I can feel that good luck, because you know, you experience it.

*

This speaker has struggled to get where she is now. She did not go immediately to FIDM after graduating high school, and she started her first year in Fall 2020. She has needed to share a room with an incompatible roommate, and she has needed to take up two food service jobs to continue working toward her passion even when is is difficult. I think the idea that blood as a symbol of struggle resonates with the speaker in part because she has needed to struggle to complete her designs.

The True Love’s Heart

Main Piece:

So there’s a famous Creole belief that the truest way to win over someone’s heart is to make them drink your blood. Some version says that it only works if it’s your period blood, but the one my grandma told me says that it works with any kind of blood. You just have to make sure that the other person somehow consumes your blood without them realizing, then that’ll make them fall in love with you without a doubt. In the movie “Midsommar” they had a similar tradition shown in it, so a lot of people just assume that this tradition is like only for Nordic/Norwegian stuff. But from what I know the drinking of blood dates way back in the Creole culture, and maybe this is a shared thing amongst other cultures too. Obviously I’ve never done this myself, nor do I know anyone who’s actually done it. I think at this point, it’s more like a story that elders tell to kids kinda as a fairy tale, I’m not sure if anyone would actually try to pursue this.

Background:

My informant is African American, with her father’s family coming from a Creole/Haitian heritage. She grew up in New York, where a large Haitian community exists. Even though she’s never personally visited Haiti, she was exposed to the culture through her family. She also explained that this story was told to her by her grandmother in French, so there are some mistranslations alongside phrases that couldn’t be remembered correctly.

Context:

I met up with my informant at her apartment in Los Angeles. During our talk about finding love and relationships, the topic eventually lead to her sharing this bit of interesting folklore. No other persons were present during our conversation.

Thoughts:

Drinking or consuming one’s blood is a sacred act that’s been practiced and upheld by various cultures. It’s an act that symbolically and literally unifies two persons, and it only made sense for me that there would be a folklore regarding drinking blood and associating that with attaining one’s love.

Supernatual event at Lu Xun Middle School

Context
The informant grows up in Beijing. The story happened in a middle school in Beijing. We were talking about ghost stories when she brought up this legend.

Content
Informant: In our city, there is a school called Lu Xun Middle School. Because it is Lu Xun Middle School, it has a statue of Lu Xun. I don’t know in what position, but the statue is pointing at a direction, I think it’s left. Then, a student for some reason goes into the school at midnight. He says that when he goes in the school, the statue looks as if it’s pointing to the right, but the statue is still facing the same direction. Then, he goes into the building to fetch his things. After that, his hand was dirty, so he washes his hand. When he comes out, the Lu Xun statue is still pointing to the right. So he goes home. But the next day, he is told that someone is killed. He goes back to see the statue. It’s still pointing to the left. He finds out that the sink where he washed his hands the night before is filled with the blood of the victim.

Analysis
I did some research online. It turns out that the Lu Xun Middle School is furnished in a traditional style. It was built in 1901 and 2 of its alumni were killed in the March 18 Massacre. The violence was taken by Bei Yang Governments, who tried to suppress a demonstration that asked the government to stop signing inequal treaties to western countries. The famous writer Lu Xun called it “the darkest day in the history of the Republic of China”.
The school was named after the influential Chinese writer Lu Xun, who was honored for attacking conservative forces relentlessly by his writings at that time.

Don’t Write In Red

The Main Piece
In Korea it is commonly known that if you write someone’s name in red, then they will die. It does not have written in any particular way or on any particular object, but simply in red ink. The color represents the blood of the person as if one was smearing it across the canvass. She has heard several stories of incidents happening where a person has died coincidentally after their name was written in red. While the myth can not be proven to be true or not, these rumors ventilate throughout Korea, keeping people on edge and careful of what they write.
Background Information
My informant is Elizabeth Kim, a current first year undergraduate student and personal friend of mine at USC, she is also a full and third generation Korean. She states that it is because of her almost annual trips to Korea that she has heard of these various rumors, stories, and superstitions. She tells me about how she enjoys hearing these stories just as she enjoys hearing a scary story. There is the possibility that it could be real which keeps her excited. She hears it from her friends that live in Korea and sometimes even cousins or aunts members at family gatherings.
Context
I was interviewing Elizabeth towards the second semester of our freshman year outside of Parkside Apartment at USC. The setting was casual and conversation flowed easily as we discussed the folklore she knew of.
Personal Thoughts
Hearing this piece of folklore actually made me a little nervous at first. I can not count the amount of times I have written people’s names in red. In fact, I have written my own name in red hundreds of times. In elementary school teachers make you correct other students’ paperwork and write “Corrected By: ______.” However, this also makes me consider the fact that everyone dies at some point and one’s name is always being written down. So perhaps it only makes sense or perhaps just coincidence that one dies and their name is written in red.