Tag Archives: catholic

Huevo Limpia-Egg Cleanse: Mexican Cleansing Ritual


Me: “Grandma, remember when you rubbed an egg on my brother when he was little? Was that some sort of ritual?

EG: “Oh yes, haha that is called huevo limpia. I learned it from my mom. My mom was very religious and I grew up seeing her use an egg in order to remove the Evil Eye, el Mal de Ojo. Typically, an egg is used to absorb any negative energy in order to cleanse the body and aura. The way I was taught was to rub an egg all over one’s body and to wish the bad luck or spirits away. Typically, I will say a prayer like the ‘Our Father’, in Spanish of course. But yes I do remember doing this when your brother was very young because he was very anxious and scared about something; when he told me I knew to simply open the fridge and grab an egg so I can quickly get rid of any negative spirits.”

Me: “But why an egg?” 

EG: “Supposedly my mom said that within Catholic spiritualism, it is common to use an egg because eggs have the power to energetically absorb any negative energy that one may have. You are supposed to take an egg, hold it close to your heart and say a prayer or any wishful affirmations before you start rubbing it around one’s body from head to toe. Once that process is finished, you can actually crack the egg and you can see the bad energy that was absorbed. If the egg is bubbly, foggy, or has strings from the yolk, that means the bad energy was extracted. When you crack the egg, you can see your results and notice if the cleansing has worked or not.”

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

-EG’s relationship with this piece stems from her Mexican and Catholic culture and overall spiritualism within her own beliefs and those of her mother’s. EG would hear of this ritual practice from her mother given that she grew up in a Catholic household where she was accustomed to witness these ritual performances taking place within her living room whenever someone came to her house for a cleansing. EG interprets this ritual as an act of purified meditation. Given that this performance allows for bad energy to be removed and cleansed from one’s aura, EG intercepts this egg ritual to be an organic act that allows someone to feel protected and start a “new beginning”. 

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

– The overall cultural value within this ritual stems from a typical Catholic and Mexican household where these acts are often seen being linked to the concept of “brujería” or “witchcraft”. Despite the negative connotation that witchcraft receives, many Mexican-Catholic communities tend to believe that the act of huevo limpia takes on a more religious approach due to the prayers and religious affirmations that are said during the process; this can be seen as an ethical approach to the lifestyles of many Mexican Catholics. The personal values that can be seen within this ritual is the strong spiritual beliefs that an individual inherits within themselves as they truly need to believe that such an organic household item, like an egg, can be used as a spiritual tool in order to heal something that is not visible to the human eye. I see this ritual as an overall act that enables a sense of clarity and tranquility within one’s mindset. Considering that I experienced this ritual being done to my brother, I remember the reassurance and satisfaction that was washed over my brother after EG inspected the results of the egg. From being exposed to the process from start to finish, I am able to see this ritual as a natural symbol of comfort and protection as the religious aspect embedded within the performance can lead one to feel “clean” and protected from any bad energies; this was evident within my brother’s reaction. Considering eggs represent new life, the earth, and God within mythological beliefs, it is with no curiosity that an egg is the main emphasis within this religious practice. A similar ritual that has similar notions to huevo limpia is the spiritual ritual within sage/Palo Santo cleansing. As a matter of fact, the process of burning sage/Palo Santo as you walk around your home, letting the smoke coat the atmosphere, is similar to this egg ritual because they both are performed with the intention of getting rid of evil and or bad energies/spirits. These concepts within the egg ritual and the sage/Palo Santo ritual are acts of contagious “magic” given that these performances carry out an action with the emphasis of touching and or being connected to the designated target within a magical act. 

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.  

The Color Changing Rosary


19-year-old S was raised Catholic in Houston, Texas. When she was in 9th grade, she attended her first overnight church retreat. During this retreat, she experienced the Catholic tradition of Adoration, in which the body of Christ in the form of the sacramental bread is displayed for prayer in the church.


During Adoration, S prayed her rosary, which was a gift from her grandmother. It had lavender-purple faux crystal beads. While praying she was overcome with emotion and started to cry. She put the rosary away and went to confession. Once adoration ended, she left the church and returned to a different building where they broke off into small groups to talk about the experience.

S opened up the little white bag containing the rosary and suddenly noticed that the beads were a bright baby blue. She believed that the rosary had changed color during Adoration, coinciding with her intense emotional experience. This belief was affirmed by the adults leading the retreat, who told her that blue is the Virgin Mary’s color, meaning that she must have performed the miracle. S told her story to the whole room (50+ people) and called her mom in tears to tell her about the miracle. This moment was the strongest she had ever believed in God, but it was probably the last moment she ever believed to that extent as well.

The next morning when her mom came to pick her, S pulled out the rosary to show her. Her heart sank as it was purple again. She snuck back into the youth center and realized the grave mistake: it was only the lighting of that room that had changed the color of the rosary. Immediately she felt embarrassed for having believed such a miracle could have occurred. S says that her belief in Catholicism pretty much declined from there, largely due to other factors but also the humiliation of such an underwhelming event.


S thought she had a personal experience of myth, or the occurrence of a miracle, which is central to Catholic mythology. Often, for people growing up in christian communities, they are instilled with expectations for God’s incessant greatness and love for all his creation. Catholicism especially holds the notion of every-day miracles at its core, preaching that the divine can send little miracles, or head-nods, to acknowledge his creation and the hope of their eventual salvation.

The Christian doctrine creates endless promises to its followers, giving them hope for when hope is absent. However, when such promises are not conceived in any way, people tend to drift away from God. It is an underwhelming and confounding experience, which in turn deters followers from Christian doctrine and introduces them into a realm of harsh reality.

S believed she had experienced a miracle, which was so central to her belief system at the time. However, once she realized her miracle was false, she not only snapped back to reality, but also realized the prospect that much more than just the color-changing rosary was an underwhelming lie. Although she mentioned that other factors played a role in her rift from the church, this instance is symbolic of what happens with many when religious beliefs get flipped on their head.

Sfingi Donuts on St. Joseph’s Day

Background: N is an American of part Sicilian descent who remembers his family celebrating St. Joseph’s day by making traditional Sicilian donuts, or Sfingi, every year.

St. Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of Sicily, is celebrated on March 19th to celebrate the life and legacy of the Catholic saint. According to legend, Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph for relief during an extreme famine and drought. Once he provided them with bountiful crops and rainfall, they promised him a day of devotion in return for his good graces. The festivities usually revolve around a large meatless feast due to its occurrence during Lent.


Interviewer: “What are Sfingi and how do you make them?”

N: “Sfingi are uh fried dough balls made from flour, sugar, eggs and like ricotta cheese…usually topped with powdered sugar too… I’ve never actually made them, usually just my grandma or mom does…”

Interviewer: “Why did your family choose to make Sfingi for St. Joseph’s day as apposed to any other dessert?”

N: “I don’t know, I suppose because it’s a pretty traditional Sicilian dessert, as far as I know… St. Joseph’s is huge for Sicilians since he’s like the patron saint”

Interviewer: “Do you think they’re the best Sicilian dessert?”

N: “They’re a little too sweet for my taste… but I liked it a lot as a kid”


As reflected in N’s family, sweets like Sfingi are commonplace in St. Joseph’s day feasts and celebrations. The indulgence of a treat like Sfingi can reflect the indulgence that St. Joseph offered the Sicilians in their time of need. Sfingi are a celebration of Sicilian culture and a sign of gratitute to the sweet blessings granted from God and their beloved patron saint. Lent, broadly, is meant to be a time of fasting and abstinence from the luxuries of everyday life. In contrast, St. Joseph’s day stands apart from the rest of lent due to its celebratory festivities of feasting and indulgence. The holiday’s place on the liturgical calendar represents how God’s love can fulfill and serve his followers even in times of great despair and famine.

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board — Memorate


“My mom told me this story of when she was playing ‘light as a feather, stiff as a board’ during a high school slumber party. Right as they began to lift a girl, she had a seizure. It was the first time she ever had one, and she was later diagnosed with epilepsy. 

“Since they all went to a Catholic high school and their parents were devout Catholics, the sleepover was immediately disbanded, perhaps out of fear they had conjured some sort of demonic spirit or something. Ever since hearing this story as a kid, I have never participated in those sorts of activities at sleepovers.”


SR is a 20 year-old college student from Thousand Oaks, CA. Her family is Catholic and has Italian roots.

‘Light as a feather, stiff as a board’ is a levitation game played at girls’ slumber parties. It is a sort of ritual that embodies the liminal space between life and death as one girl is chosen to ‘die’ and the others must lift her up. There are certain things to be recited that supposedly make the girl’s body light enough to be lifted or rise on its own, depending on versions of the game.

SR’s mother told her this story to warn her against playing the game. Since the ritual attempts to draw upon some dark magic or power, a Catholic family would not want their kids engaging in such practices.


This story is an example of a memorate, a personal experience that gets interpreted into an existing legendary structure. SR noted the Catholic upbringings of all the girls at the sleepover, meaning they all had a degree of belief in the devil and demonic forces; perhaps they had been told stories of possessions and exorcisms as this is something commonly done in Catholic teaching against the devil.

Thus, when something scary happened to their friend, this belief system offered a framework through which to understand the experience. 

This game being performed in the context of a sleepover highlights how belief is a social process. SR’s mother played the game in high school, a liminal time when a child is beginning the transition into adulthood and thus experimenting with belief. Legend questing/tripping is something done within peer groups at this time in an attempt to see if a legend is true.

Many beliefs are acquired from social sources in narrative form. Thus, SR hearing this story from her own mother makes it especially memorable and believable. Regardless of the truth value of the story, the legend is strong enough to discourage SR from doing any ‘legend tripping’ of her own, as she said she never participated in these activities after hearing her mom’s story.