This is the use of a folk object to bring safety to one’s family, typically found in India. The informant is from Mumbai, India, and he and his family consistently use this practice whenever they have purchased new things. The concept of this is that the individual hangs green objects, typically limes or green peppers, from something. This is most common when something new has been bought. The purpose of this is to protect their family and their new possession from the evil eye of jealousy. They believe in that culture that other people looking on this object will bring jealous with their eyes and will spell bad fortune for themselves. The hanging objects distract the eyes and no longer spell misfortune. There is another side to this in terms of keeping bugs away as well. The limes and peppers are hung with string. It is said that both of the acidity and spiciness of the two fruits will deter bugs from hanging around the home in which it is hung. There are other accounts that the hanging charms will please the god of misery, Alakshmi, and keep her from causing harm to the family.
learned this practice from his family. It was more important and believe in
past times and now, it is more done out of tradition than anything. The
informant remembers this because it is something his mother would do when he
was younger. He does not believe in the actual superstition of it but
appreciates the reflection of his culture and the preservation of folk
This is used in
Hindu culture, which has many gods to reflect different aspects of society.
Specific things please each one, so this is just likely one of many examples of
implementation of religion in Indian culture’s daily life. This brings a sense
of security to the person, much like physical blue all-knowing eyes are hung in
some Muslim countries like Turkey.
My roommate (the subject) and I were sitting in our dorm room talking about how our families celebrated different holidays. The subject’s family is relatively large and extremely tight-knit, as reflected in the subjects emphasis on “we always always do [it]”. Most of her extended family live within an hour radius, and they value family gatherings. Though this is the case, the subject only celebrates St. Patrick’s day with her immediate family members. I thought it was interesting that the subject’s family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, considering no one in their family is of Irish descent. Additionally, I thought it was interesting how the family doesn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s day in a traditional sense (i.e. celebrating by drinking or gathering with extended family); instead, I believe the incorporation of images from the Dr. Seuss story, “Green Eggs and Ham”, reflects the nurturing and supportive environment of the family and the encouragement of uniqueness.
“On Saint Patrick’s Day—my family and I—we always make green eggs and ham, um, it’s not really specific to St. Patrick’s day, it’s a Dr. Seuss book, but, um, we have everything green for that breakfast. This year my dad even made the butter green so the bagels look really wonky [laughs], that was a little gross, but, um, we always always always do that, and if it’s not breakfast or we can’t be together for breakfast we’re together for, um, dinner or something, and we’ll like dye our Indian food green [laughs].”
Shanling told me that she learned this proverb/idiom when she was in Chinese school in Denver, Colorado. She said that she first heard it when she was about 14 years old and was learning how to snowboard. According to Shanling, the proverb signifies when a pupil has surpasses his master at one activity. The master is symbolized by the color blue and the student by the color green. When a teacher (blue) has taught his knowledge to his pupil, the pupil will become like him so it becomes green. Also, according to Shanling, the color green is more beautiful according to Chinese culture so that is why it is said that the student has surpassed the master. One example that she gave me was when she was learning how to snowboard. She said that after just a couple of days of lessons from her friend she got so good that her friend told her that she might be better than her. She told me that her friend said that she learned quickly because green come from blue. She likes the idea that green is more beautiful than blue and that is why she think the proverb means that the pupil has surpassed the master.
I think I agree with Shanling to some details, but other details are no so clear. I do agree that green come from blue can be a good representation of a teacher pupil situation. The teacher is giving knowledge to the student and this will shape the student to be more like the teacher. However, the part that I do not understand is why they are inquiring that the pupil has surpasses the master. In my opinion, the master stays as the dominant person because blue is a primary color while green is a secondary color. This proverb can be use in many situations nowadays. We have many situations where teachers are trying to shape students to become just like them, if not better. This happens not only intellectually but also in sports and politics. This proverb tells7 students that it they try hard enough they can become almost like their teacher and in some rare situations better than them.
On the dance floor, I pulled a harmless prank on another dancer while my friend, Gisuk, was watching. When I pretended I did not know anything, the dancer turned to Gisuk and jokingly said, Well we have a witness right here! Gisuk cocked her head and said Witness? Witness to what? Giving up, the dancer laughed, Cho and Rok are the same color and danced off. I asked Gisuk what this proverb meant. She had learned this while living in Korea, and told me that it means that similar people will stick together. In this case, he meant that close people will stand up for one another. Cho and Rok may sound different, but in the end, they are both the same color. She also mentioned that in Korea, there are very many proverbs that mean the exact same thing, listing off quite a few.
It is fitting, I think, that the Koreans have many ways to express this idea. Korea is ethnically homogenous, and have a remarkably strong sense of national solidarity. (Perhaps this is even evident in the way Ive unconsciously written Korea as opposed to South Korea.) As a smaller nation that have survived for centuries next to China, and now the financial giant, Japan, Koreans seem to believe that it is important that we maintain this feeling of national unity. Maybe that is why we have so many proverbs reminding us that we are all essentially the same color.
[*] Cho and Rok are two different names of the same color, green. The most common word for green in modern Korean is Cho-Rok.