Tag Archives: eyelash

Fallen Eyelash

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Pasadena, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 28
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Context: 

This piece was collected over a casual FaceTime in which we were previously just catching up and talking about our elementary school experiences. We are close friends who met in high school and have known each other for five years. My informant (JS) was born in California and is now attending Carnegie Mellon as Computer Science major. He enjoys coding, playing video games, and weight lifting.

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant (JS) and interviewer.

Interviewer: Can you repeat that again, the one about eyelashes?

JS: So when an eyelash falls on your cheek, and you don’t know about it, a friend mentions it to you and you have to guess on what cheek the eyelash is, right? So if you guess the correct cheek and you manage to blow it off without, like, using a mirror or using your hands, you get to make one wish and it will come true! However, if you don’t, um, pick the correct cheek, you’ll have bad luck for the rest of the day, but it’s not like, major bad luck, it’s just, mild *laughs* 

Interviewer: And do you believe in this? And where did you learn it from?

JS: Um, I heard about this from my sister, I think. She brought it back from school. Hmm, I don’t believe it, but my girlfriend definitely believes it *laughs* so I always mention when one of her eyelashes falls down. Oh yeah and she’s from Pasadena. 

Thoughts: 

Wishing upon a fallen eyelash is an old practice. From what I’ve heard, blowing an eyelash away protects the person from witchcraft or the Devil, because the Devil tries to collect as much human hair from a person as possible in order to control them. For this reason, it makes sense to me that blowing an eyelash away would give the person good luck, because they evaded evil, but it was new to me that picking the wrong cheek would give the person bad luck. 

“You have an eyelash on your face, make a wish!”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Chinese-American
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Arcadia, California
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2007
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Mandarin

My informant learned this superstition when she was very young, so she doesn’t recall when she learned it.  She has been taking part of this superstition ever since she was in elementary school, where she probably learned it from a friend.  Whenever she sees a stray eyelash other people’s faces, she takes the eyelash, puts it on their finger and tells them to make a wish and blow the eyelash off.  She puts the eyelash on her finger if she finds an eyelash on her face and follows the same procedure.
She said that she does not believe in this superstition, yet she does it anyway.  According to her, there is no validity to this superstition, so she doesn’t believe her wishes will come true.  She believes that this eyelash superstition exists because losing an eyelash is more unusual than losing strands of hair.  Wishing with a strand of a hair would definitely not be as special because people lose many strands of hair everyday.
She tells this superstition because it has become a routine if she sees a loose eyelash.  It has become embedded in her that she has an automatic reaction to tell it.
Like the superstition of making a wish at 11:11, I do not necessarily believe that blowing an eyelash off my finger while making a wish will make my wish come true.  The willingness of a person to make his or her wish happen is what makes a wish come true.  Usually people do not rely on an eyelash wish, so they take action and make it happen.  I believe that eyelash wishing does contribute to making a wish become reality, but a person’s actions are what makes it become reality.