Context: The informant is my older sister (LC) and the following text is transcribed from our phone conversation. She reflects on a good luck ritual she used to do with her friends that was taught to them by their parents.
Main Text (LC): “The belief or myth behind the meaning of the Dandelion is that if you make a wish and blow on one, and the seeds all go everywhere, your wish will come true. And I think that’s the myth everyone knows about them. But now, to me, they mean something else. They show up in this book about activism and social justice that I read and the book states that the dandelion is a metaphor for change. The book says that just like the dandelion, only one seed is necessary to spread great change, and I find this message very powerful.”
Analysis: The belief or ritual that blowing on a dandelion grants your wish has been commonplace in the United States for a long time. This practice reminds me of how a child blows out a birthday candle and makes a wish. I think it is interesting how the dandelion is used as a different metaphor in the book my sister read and demonstrates how an object’s symbolism can change over time and garner new meanings.
The informant told me that when she was younger (age 4-5), she would pluck a dandelion and blow on it to make a wish. She learned this practice from her friends in preschool. “It was a lot of fun! We would run around looking for dandelions to blow on and fight over them sometimes.
Me: Do you have to get all the dandelion seeds off in one blow?
Informant: I think so!
Me: Do you still play this game?
Informant: Hmm… I think it’s second nature to pick up a dandelion and blow now. You don’t really think about it.
Analysis: This is a common practice in the United States, where dandelions are abundant in the grass. It is similar to blowing out all the candles on a birthday cake. It most likely stems from the belief that if you blow out all the seeds, they carry your wishes and dreams and eventually blossom. It is unclear where the origin of this game came from, however there are variations, such as if you blow a dandelion and all the seeds come off, your lover loves only you. If some seeds remain, he is not loyal. This may have come from the daisy petal-plucking “He loves me, he loves me not”, game.
For the informant, this game or ritual has become so common-place that it is almost innate for her to want to pluck a dandelion and blow the seeds into the wind.