S: “There’s a big one actually. They like do it in my dad’s hometown a lot and in a lot of Mexican hometowns where like there’s like a main cathedral or like church and that one has to do with like praying to God for like good fortune. So like whenever there is something you pray to God for like really, really, badly for. Like in terms of super superstitious, I know a lot of sick people have done this. Like ‘Oh God, like let this surgery go well’ or like chemo, for example, ‘Let this chemo go good and I’ll be cancer free in the next year’ and blah blah blah, like ‘Oh please God, I’d do anything!’ And once this happens, in terms of superstition. Once like God, I don’t want to say grants their wish, but like, you know, God wills whatever they prayed for to happen, they now have to walk on their knees to the church. So usually at the church there is this big like entrance way to the church and sometimes it starts ever further. Like you have to go crawl on your knees from the road like a mile or so away from the church, and the road is rocky so your knees are like busted, torn to shreds, and walk all the way to the alter where the Virgin Mary is and offer like a flower or light a candle of something, you know? Or that’s like a really big thing they’ve done in like my hometown. My dad actually did it himself but like here, when I was like younger he had a health scare I think, like ‘Please let this be good’ and once it came like it was ok, like he carried me, I was like four I think, he carried me in his arms and he crawled to the alter holding me. So that’s like a very big one.” (omitted a fair amount of “like”s)
S is a Mexican American born in Long Beach, California. His parents are from Mexico. S knows of this tradition through his parents, with some personal experience by his father as spoken above. The “hometown” spoken of towards the end of the text is El Sabino Guanajuato. S’s take on this tradition is that it’s religious, serious, and also represents faith in a sense. He also uses the term “superstitious thinking” from his psych class to describe it.
This action is like praying but almost also like making a deal with God. It could be a luck ritual with the physical performance part of this ritual being the crawling/walking on knees to the alter in a church. According to my mom, my grandmother also did this when my uncle got drafted. He came home safely so my grandmother got on her knees and crawled to the alter. This ritual goes to show how religion and belief could also work with superstition to give luck (good luck/blessings in this case).