Tag Archives: gesture

The “Peace Sign” Gesture


“There’s one gesture I do all the time,” the informant prefaced.

They lifted their hand to a position beside their face. Aside from the index and middle finger straightened out, the hand would’ve been in a fist. Initially, they posed with their palm faced-out and their extended fingers pointed towards their cheek. This sort of pose seemed to lead directly into them popping their hip out. Adjusting the pose slightly, they faced their palm toward themself, pulling in their elbow and having the extending fingers positioned parallel to their cheek. With this pose, they automatically popped out the other hip.

They shrugged. “It’s just something I always do.”


The informant has a deep relationship with this gesture. It’s something they say they do instinctually– like waving at someone you know from afar or looking up when you’re in deep thought.

This gesture couldn’t be pinpointed to a specific point of origin for them. From what they know, the “peace sign” gesture was brought to them as a culmination of exposure to it from an assortment of friends and family.

They interpret it as a friendly, playful gesture that’s easy to do. Generally, it’s used as a pose when taking pictures or as a greeting pose towards friends.


While I understand that different cultures have different meanings behind the “peace sign,” this particular use of it is something common in the culture I’m in. It’s a pose that can be adjusted in a variety of ways as was demonstrated to me by the informant. Regardless of the posture, it’s always used as a positive, cutesy gesture. The inclusion of it in a pose is usually rather flashy and attention-grabbing in some way or another.

Hand Lizard

This hand gesture is supposed to look like a snake or lizard. There are multiple variations, where the pinkies are used as a tongue vs used as a tail, but the main concept is that it looks like a reptile

My informant learned about it in elementary school. It was way to differentiate who was “in the know or who was not”, sort of as cool thing you could do with your hands. However, the hand gesture was not exclusive, in that if someone didn’t know how to do the gesture they would be taught.

I recognized this hand gesture as it was something I used to do in my childhood despite being us growing up 4 years apart and across the country. Much like my informant, for my childhood it was used as something cool you can do when you were bored and it wasn’t ever withheld from others.

Sacatito de conejo: Proverb/Gesture

Text: “Sacatito de conejo” “A sack of bunnies”

Context: NO’s relationship to this proverb stems from her Mexican culture and her amusing family. NO grew up listening to this phrase/gesture performed by her dad within her Mexican culture and childhood. She would often hear it from her father or an older relative. Within her Mexican household, she would often hear it used in a way to poke fun at someone who is scared of doing something or someone who backs out of a dare. Typically, this gesture consists of gesturing your hand like the Italian “finger purse/pinched fingers” while simultaneously saying the phrase to taunt and make fun of those who are scared; this is to represent many bunnies given the fact that you have five fingers. NO interprets this proverb/gesture as a way to pick at those who don’t want to accomplish something or who are “too chicken” to complete a certain task or action.

Analysis: The cultural value that I see present within this proverb/gesture is the fact that Mexican culture usually revolves around the connotation that Mexicans can do anything and can accomplish anything. Given this idea, this proverb/gesture stems from stereotypical Mexican beliefs. The personal values that are evident within this proverb/gesture is the mockery that stems from someone’s overall personality and characteristics. I see this proverb/gesture as an overall expression of mockery and amusement. Given that the literal translation doesn’t quite make sense, I assume that the comparison of someone backing out is similar to a cute sack of bunnies. I interpret this proverb/gesture as a comparison factor given that the main idea is to make the individual feel like they represent a cute bunny rather than a badass person. Considering that this is performed typically within a joking manner, I consider this proverb/gesture as a lighthearted action that can inflict laughter and great fun despite the fact that I haven’t heard it within my own personal Mexican culture. 

USC marching band secret handshake


The folk object is a kind of handshake.

“Before a competition, or before a performance, people would just walk around and do the handshake and say like good luck, have a good run. “

“This is how you do it: Put two thumbs together, spin your fist upright, and then open your hand so it’s like an upside-down high five. And then make it right side up to shake hands. “

“Only people in our band knows how to do it.”


My informant plays at a marching band at USC. According to her, this handshake had been performed before she joined the marching band. She learned it and then she taught the freshman how to do it.


Handshake is a very common type of folk gesture, especially in the U.S. Special handshakes are signals of shared identity or signals of difference between in-groups and out-groups. Handshakes are connected with unity and commemoration. Although many people may not know each other in my informant’s marching band(because it’s a big band), when they greet each other with a handshake, they would know that they belong to the same place. Also, unity and a sense of belonging are what a marching band needs when it comes to performance because coordination and cooperation are essential to instrumental performance. The sense of belonging is also created by the daily practice, competition, and performance that the members of the marching band participated in, thus the handshake can also be the by-product of this sense of unity. My informant is a folklore carrier. Not only had she taught me about the folk gesture, but she also teaches the freshmen of the marching band.

Bring The Bride!

Original: “جلب العروس

Transliteration: Jalab El Aroos

Translation: “Bring the bride”

The informant is one of my family members who is married and has been raised in Lebanon for most of her life. She discusses instances in her childhood and moments with her family that are the most significant to her culture and upbringing


She states that “Lebanese heritage lies mostly within special occasions such as weddings, which is one of the most important moments of every Lebanese individual’s life as it brings most of the family together to practice passionate traditions that can only be done on these rare occasions” conveying the importance of culture within Lebanese Culture. She states that “This certain grand gesture is mostly practised by the Druze religion and is the process of claiming the bride from her family home” The Druze religion is the smallest religious group in Lebanon that have a certain manner in performing wedding ceremonies specifically. The process involves “driving from the groom to the brides home with a traditional Lebanese ‘Zaffe’ which includes a band and dancers dressed in traditional Druze wear” which the informant states have been done at her wedding in a vast manner. She ends with “The groom and family must dance and sing until they reach the bride to claim her from her parents and take her back to his home” The informant has specifically stated that this process is accurate at all Druze weddings and is a part of the ritual of their marriage.


The formal use of the title of the gesture highlights how sacred this element of the wedding is to the culture and religion. Although the Druze community is not the largest religious group in Lebanon, it is still indicated to be the country with the highest Druze population, therefore, having such a theatrical part of the ceremony allows them to celebrate their culture in a day with the entirety of the community. The dance is the main element of the gesture highlighting the culture that is taught into daily life in the ceremony so that every individual has the chance to celebrate and bring their culture to light at this heightened moment of celebration together. Incorporating the traditional outfits of the religion allows the community to be seen by the rest of the country as they are the smallest religious group. Although the ceremony may not have religious scripture or performance elements incorporated such as Christianity or Islam, this is how the Druze community incorporates their culture into formal celebrations and rituals. It also portrays the unity between the families as it is not an aggressive ‘claim’ but instead an agreement to allow the couple to continue to thrive in a joint manner in the Druze community.