Description (From Transcript): “Okay so for this one it’s the curing of the egg! I don’t know how the other person you got it from told you this, but my mom, she gets an egg, and she rubs it with either alcohol or agua bendita (holy water). We get our agua bendita from church, or sometimes in a tiny bottle. We have like a little bottle here at home, and what she does is she puts agua bendita or alcohol, or both sometimes, and she does a cross on our body. But that cross is a small cross on our forehead, which is 1, 2, 3, 4, (*does a cross motion*) and then a small cross on our heart, in the small crossing our legs and then a cross behind our head. She rubs that egg all around our body, starting with the back of our head, which is the most important part. My mom says that’s the most important part because that’s where it’s in the middle. Medically, if you hit your head right there, you’re probably going to die. That’s the most important part that you have to protect, and that’s where she rubs us and especially when I had problems with stress, she does this to me, and as well. She does it through the head, first in the back of the head and then on top of the head, and then she moves towards the shoulders and hands, the front of the heart, and then she moves to the back, and then at the end towards the bottom, and then she brings all that energy into the top, and she rubs the head again. Then she goes to the restroom. She opens the egg, and she throws it in the toilet, not in the back. I know a lot of people throw it in the backyard or they throw it in the trash.But she does it in the toilet. She’s like “don’t come with me because you’re going to get that bad energy, and I have to do it by myself”.
She goes to the toilet, she closes the door, and she flushed it. Then, she throws the shell in the trash can outside.
Context: The informant, VA, is a first generation student at USC. She has one sibling and her family is from Puebla, Mexico. She got this tradition from her mother, who learned it from her own mother. As for how to do it, her mother saw it on an online video on facebook. However, she first learned of it from her mother. The informant explained that this practice shows how, even if you don’t believe in it, seeing how much her parents care for her, or the extent to which they care that they would do it, makes her feel important. She emphasized how seeing her mom do this small ritual for her when she feels bad or because of schoolwork, she feels a lot better.
My interpretation: Unlike the other informant who explained this ritual, VA utilizes many religious aspects, including holy water and the crosses made on her body. To me, this reveals how the act is not only a demonstration of religion, but also a way for her to connect to her family and her culture. Additionally, her explanation of the head being the most important body part demonstrates how physical well being and spiritual well being are directly connected, and more specifically, how negative energies can be physically removed from a person’s body even if they are not visible or tangible. Flushing the bad energy down the toilet demonstrates how it’s seen as a particularly putrid agent that must be disposed of the way waste or toxic chemicals might be disposed of. I found it interesting how her mother relearned the ritual through social media videos.