Background: The informant always wears red underwear when she knows she is entering a situation where danger could occur. She believes that the color red has protective powers and is ultra superstitious about wearing it, especially when flying. She is a very spiritual woman, but also particular about what type of folk beliefs she acquires. She does her research before hopping on a trend or swearing by a specific belief. This underwear belief, while sparked by Madona, has become a pillar in her travel experience.
Context: “I first started wearing red underwear when Madonna became an expert in Kabbalah. She was very famous at the time and I thought it was quite ridiculous that she decided to suddenly become Jewish, I suppose, and pick the sect that she did. Remember those little red bracelets? I wish that I had had a company at that point manufacturing those because they were hot in the 90s. They taught me. Red protects you. Red protects your soul from being attacked by malicious characters. As a 20-year-old girl, I never liked to fly. I always felt so vulnerable so far up in the sky with people I didn’t even know in control of my life. The pilot, the flight attendants. I thought to myself if I wear red and red underwear I’ll be protected. Red really isn’t my color, so I felt that underwear was the way to go. I didn’t have to match it with anything, just make sure I owned some undies to throw on before any flight”.
Thoughts: This is a custom and belief that has been passed along to me, as her daughter. I also think that red is a guarding force and I feel the ritual is associated with my mom and that in itself provides a sense of safety. I love following in my mom’s footsteps with her beliefs because I trust her, so this custom is just another way for me to feel that she is by my side in perilous circumstances. I know that she is very particular about her folk beliefs and practices, so her opinion is highly valued. Her superstitions are worthwhile.