E: What peculiar superstitions do you follow?
L: I never put a hat on a bed.
E: Why is that?
L: It’s believed that if someone puts their hat on their bed they are too ill or injured to set it down where it needs to be.
E: What happens if you do set a hat on a bed?
L: You get all sorts of bad luck.
E: Is it all headwear or just hats?
L: Glasses are fine. But I stray from putting beanies or anything else of the sort.
E: Where did you hear this from?
L: I heard it from my father when I was a little girl.
E: What does it mean to you?
L: It makes me a bit less lazy. I have to remind myself to place my hat where it needs to be or else I receive supernatural consequences.
This is a family member of mine from France. I was taught this superstition at a very young age and it came to mind when beginning my research. I called said family member and transcribed our phone call.
This sort of story works well to deter laziness. I feel as though all superstitions hold some sort of deeper meaning or lesson. I wonder circa what year this came from and by proxy the circumstances that created it. I think it is interesting to people who follow superstitions for fear of sway in their faith. I personally heard this superstition when I was younger and have since always practiced it. I won’t even let friends put their hats on beds.
What is being performed?
JJ: So if it’s late in the game and your team’s losing. You turn your hat, like, inside out and wear
it on top of your head to bring good luck.
AA: What teams do you do this for?
JJ: Well, I’m pretty sure all of baseball does this but you’re only supposed to do it for the team
you want to win.
AA: Have you ever done it?
JJ: Uh, yeah, at almost every game, actually. It’s a pretty big thing.
Why do they know or like this piece? where/who did they learn it from? What does it mean to
AA: Where did you learn this trick?
JJ: I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and watching Red Sox games with my dad.
AA: Do you think it works?
JJ: I mean, I don’t know. But it makes you feel better. You feel like there’s still something you
can do and it’s not over yet.
Context of the performance- where do you perform it? History?
This is usually performed at baseball games or wherever people are watching baseball on TV.
This doesn’t happen in other sports but baseball fans participate.
I am not a big baseball fan or big sports fan in general but this is interesting to me. I see this
mostly as a way that baseball fans, who aren’t on the field and have little control over what
happens in the game, get to feel as if they can control the fate of the game. I think it just shows
how serious people are about their sports teams and how much they can identify with a single
My informant heard this from her Vietnamese mother as she was growing up
“Wearing a hat indoors makes you shorter”
My informant is pretty short, so she uses this as an explanation of why she is short.
Asians are, on average, shorter than Caucasians and Blacks, and height is seen as a favorable attribute. Plus, it is impolite to wear a hat indoors, possibly because it means that you do not intend to stay or do not trust your host (you are hiding your face). Combining those ideas creates this idea that wearing a hat, or being impolite, will have a negative effect on how you appear to other people. My informant likes to wear stylish clothes, including very pretty hats, and uses this saying as a joking justification for why she is the way she is. It implies that she would have been taller if she could have resisted the temptation for stylish hats.