Tag Archives: celebrations

Flower Moon Music and Arts Festival (Chapman University)


Collector: “Do you participate in any specific rituals or festivals?”

Informant: “We have Flower Moon. It’s a Music and Arts Festival that’s been happening every year for the last three years on the last week of April. It’s usually at the same venue the Garden Amphitheater in Garden Grove, California. It has three stages. And we have 15 different artists, five artists per stage. And it’s not just the music it’s also the arts because we get six different vendors who are all champions to us in the arts. Artists, by the way, are all Chapman students and alumni. And we also get vendors to come sell clothes, jewelry, and food. And it’s like basically like our version of Coachella because it’s the weekend after both the Coachella weekends happen so we call it Coachella weekend three.”

Collector: “How much does it cost for a ticket?”

Informant: “$20 for Chapman students and $30 for general admission. And it’s sponsored by our school, we get sponsors from SGA. So Student Government.”


The informant is a female undergraduate student at Chapman University in Orange, California. She is co-president of The Collective, a music club on campus that’s responsible for organizing the Flower Moon Festival each year.


The Festival showcases Chapman Student’s artistic and musical abilities. The financial sponsorship from Chapman University shows that the school enables artistic expression. They provide a space where student’s talents can be appreciated and commodified. The showcase restricts artists to a very niche group: Chapman students and alumni. In my opinion, this makes the event more attractive to people in that university folk group. Ticket price differences urge students to attend, as they get in at a discount. 

Quinceanera Celebration

Informant Info:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Residence: Los Angeles 
  • Primary language: English and Spanish 


E.S said, “In my culture, once a young girl turns 15 they have a big party that could be considered a rite of passage, it’s called a Quinceanera.” This party is meant to symbolize the transition from a young girl to a woman. In the party there are multiple traditional processes that really resemble that of a wedding. As E.S explained, you start with mass at a church, then at the party you have the father daughter dance, the taking off of the shoes and into heels, etc. In some parties, they’re given this porcelain doll that represents or encapsulates their childhood, and at the end they have a surprise dance that’s very entertaining. The quinces in Mexico are somewhat different from the fact that as they move from the church to the reception, the whole group/family parade through the street with a live mariachi to the venue. Sometimes the quinceanera is in a carriage or on a horse. The invite is also not very exclusive as the whole community is invited. E.S recalls one time she attended a Quince, “I once went to a quince in Mexico where we didn’t know anyone, we were complete strangers and they still fed us and treated us like family.” The party allows for community bonding and the celebration of womanhood!


I deeply resonated with E.S’s relation to Quinceaneras because it is a well known tradition and celebration in my culture as well. Quinceaneras are indeed a rite of passage because the whole purpose of the celebration is to acknowledge the young girl’s transition from that into womanhood. Since I was a child, I attended various Quinceaneras from family members and acquaintances. I agree with E.S in the fact that the celebration is pretty welcoming to everyone, even if you aren’t directly related to the young girl being celebrated. I also vividly remember the surprise dances at these Quinceaneras, and they are indeed one of the parts of the celebration everyone looks forward to seeing the most. The Quinceanera does the surprise dance with her Corte de Honor, which consists of Chambelanes and Damas. The father and daughter dance is very special, and it usually makes a lot of people very emotional. While this celebration is very fun, it is also deeply sentimental for everyone because the now young woman is no longer a little girl.

Love Days

Background: The informant was raised east of Los Angeles by a mother who was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness and was very active in the church. The informant was and is not religious herself, and her father was not a member of the church either. This was told to me in person.

Informant: My mom is very religious, she’s Jehovah’s Witness, and is the most dedicated…so we wouldn’t celebrate holidays when I was a kid. For Mother’s Day we had “love day,” and for Thanksgiving we’d just have a “family dinner,” but we didn’t celebrate any holidays… my dad celebrated our birthday but my mom never celebrated any holidays. She would give us “love gifts,” which could come on any day of the year but they always ended up coming the week before or the week after my birthday. There were different reasons for different holidays…Halloween celebrates the devil so that one’s obvious. Christmas was for different reasons…Jesus wasn’t born in the winter or the snow so Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate it.

Thoughts: I knew that Jehovah’s Witnesses were very dedicated to their religion, in a way that goes above and beyond other sects of Christianity, but I wasn’t aware that they are devout to the point where they don’t celebrate any holidays that would take away from Jehovah. It’s interesting to hear this from someone who grew up directly around it but wasn’t and isn’t an active practitioner in the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

SAE Fraternity Memorial Celebration

At the University of the South (informally known as Sewanee) in rural Tennessee, I witnessed and participated in a large informal celebration held in memory of my late brother, with the university his alma mater. The celebration was preceded by a more formal memorial charity golf tournament held earlier in the day. The party detailed below followed not long after at the university’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE for short, also my late brother’s fraternity). The fraternity also arranged the golf tournament itself and arranged for a recreational social gathering to follow. The entirety of my late brother’s former fraternity members (known as a pledge class) were present, along with former classmates.


Earlier in the evening, a small concert led by popular local musicians was held on the porch, along with barbequed food consisting of brisket, sausage, and potato salad (among others).


Following the departure of the band and caterers, the approach of the crowd in the building shifted as higher levels of activity (and intoxication) became acceptable now that the night had progressed, and daylight had passed completely into night.


A crowd of around 50 to 75 remaining partygoers congregated completely into a large corner room of the building, an area adjacent to the kitchen where food is typically served for similar events. For such functions, there is a large rectangular table centered in the room bearing the yellow and purple colors of the house along with their coat of arms and titular house letters.


With large speakers taking the place of the band and copious amounts of beer taking place of the caterers, the entire crowd then gathered around the center table to the tune of a pre-arranged musical playlist of Harry’s favorite songs, occasionally breaking up any potential melancholy brought about by the playlist with popular dancing songs in order to keep energy levels consistent.


In tandem with the music starting, people in pairs or trios came to take turns dancing on the tabletop for a few minutes at a time, usually remaining for the duration of two to three songs before excusing themselves from the center of attention and being helped down, to be quickly followed by another pair or trio hopping up.


The entire party lasted until the hours between 12am and 1am, when large activities are legally required to shut down. Given that the gathering in the table-centered area began around 9:30 to 10:00 pm, this particular activity therefore extended for roughly 2 to 2.5 hours in total.


Although this congregation of friends and family came about in remembrance of tragic circumstances (ie someone’s untimely death), the resulting proximity of so many at once where they may have otherwise not been brought together in such a way prompts not only a celebration of the life of he who passed, but also a celebration of the many lives that have continued on.


Such a situation goes to show how happiness in large groups is capable of wholly overwhelming any notions of sadness, and that such celebrations in the wake of tragedies can be considered appropriate when such an effect is properly achieved and initially intended.

The evil eye sees celebrations

“We don’t have bridal showers or wedding showers, because the evil eye will see, and you won’t have a baby or a husband. You better not celebrate too soon. So, even if you have a bridal shower or a baby shower after the baby’s born, that’s a bad idea, because you’re not trying to bring attention to the good things you have in your life.”


My informant learned this from her Italian grandparents. It seems to be a common theme across cultures that drawing attention to good fortune will somehow jinx it; in this case, they believe that celebrating a marriage or a baby will draw the attention of the evil eye. This is interesting because my informant and her family are devout Catholics, and the evil eye is not a Christian belief. This shows how folk beliefs can get passed down through generations and endure through different religious traditions.