Tag Archives: holiday

Easter Tradition

“A tradition I have is every year for Easter my whole extended family goes to Cabo. Since Easter is on a Sunday and most of us have school the next day, we celebrate Easter on Saturday because we have to leave on Sunday. During the day we hangout and paint and decorate eggs which will be turned into deviled eggs in a couple hours. Then, we get ready for our easter egg hunt which only involves the grandkids. There are eggs sitting on the grass on the floor, however those eggs are only for the very very young kids. Each of us has a basket we need to find and as well as candy eggs and baskets there are golden eggs that contain different amounts of money. Since we are getting older, it is starting to get competitive because we all want the money. My grandpa always gives us some hints and sometimes our parents do too. After the hunt, we all open our baskets then get into teams and play croquet. After croquet, we all have a nice dinner together at the house.”

The informant does this every year on Easter weekend in Cabo, Mexico. Her whole family is involved, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Her grandpa helps hide the eggs and gives them hints when necessary. Her parents get all of her siblings small baskets, the other parents give their kids baskets as well, which are full of small gifts like bracelets and chocolate. She believes Easter egg hunting has always been a thing for Easter, and her family has been doing this for as long as she can remember.

The tradition is part of the widely held celebration of Easter, the Christian day on which Jesus Christ was said to have risen from the dead after his crusifiction. On this day, it is common for children to hunt for Easter eggs, which are colorful plastic eggs full of candy. This holiday is often spent with family and friends and is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or after the Spring Equinox. Although the holiday is now a large part of the holiday economy and is very consumerist, it started as a celebration of the coming of Spring before it was Christanized. It is celebrated around the world as an important Christian holiday.

A Friend’s Family Tradition: Christmas Pajamas


Informant K is a 20 year old USC student majoring in Narrative Studies. She is from the Seattle area in Washington state. K was born in Boston, MA, moved to San Francisco, CA, and then to Seattle at age 3. Her extended family is from parts of Canada and, though her immediate family is not religious, K’s grandmother is Christian. K is a sophomore and has been living in LA for 2 years.

We exchanged folklore as a group during a designated time in our discussion section. We went around in a circle, and this was one of my friend’s stories.


K: “Mine is also a Christmas tradition. I don’t know if this started with, like, earlier back or if this was a ‘my parents’ kind of introduction or invention but we do Christmas pajamas. So every year on Christmas – on Christmas Eve – we get to open one present. And that is our Christmas pajamas. And it always starts with my mom being like ‘Go look under the tree!’ like ‘Go look for your pajamas!’ And so they’re usually not – I mean sometimes they’re set out? When we were younger it was more like we got to root through the presents under the tree and find our Christmas pajamas and the tag always says, like, ‘Happy Christmas Eve! Love Mom and Dad.’ And then we open them and they usually have a fun little pattern on them, like sometimes they’re candy canes. The ones I got last year were a little less christmassy it was more just animals in a Wintery forest. And my sister and I – we used to get like strictly matching ones, now we get more like coordinating ones. I think as we’ve gotten older, my mom was like, ‘Okay, I’ll give them a little bit more… like I’ll tailor this a little bit more to their personal styles.’ And then we have to go upstairs and we have to try them on and we do like a little mini fashion show for our parents and she’s like ‘Oh, yeah! Those look nice!’ And then we take a picture, usually in front of the tree and you have to go to bed wearing your Christmas pajamas. I don’t think that’s a hard and fast rule but, like, I would never take off my Christmas pajamas ‘cause that would feel like an insult to my parents, and also it just makes it fun and festive.”

A friend, also in the circle: “Is Christmas pajamas just you and your sister or do all of your… do your parents also get…?”

K: “I don’t think my parents get pajamas. I don’t remember if they did at one point but from what I can remember now it’s just me and my sister.”


What K is explaining is a clear tradition – something contemporary that is done each year. I find it intriguing to discuss costumes or outfits as tradition, because wearing them is inherently a kind of performance. K also mentions ‘showing off’ the pajamas to her mother in smaller ‘fashion show’ performances. Her tradition is observable and fits the general description of one, yet it’s debatable in its references to the past or source material, as K doesn’t actually know the origin. It’s also worth noting that K takes this tradition very seriously – she wouldn’t dream of changing out of the pajamas. As far as I can tell, K’s tradition seems rooted in Americana. Matching pajama sets date back to the age of the nuclear family, so it’s fitting that this is a sibling tradition for the informant. Wearing matching clothes for holidays specifically is common, but I would argue that doing so for a Westernized version of Christmas is a way of creating tradition for an originally religious holiday when the participant isn’t actively religious. It’s a conspicuous example of that which is popular in an immigration-heavy society like the United States. To create a tradition is to strengthen identity, because those who participate in tradition are then considered part of an in-group.

Palestinian Ramadan and Eid

Informant Details

  • Gender: Male
  • Occupation: Student
  • Nationality: Palestinian-American

Folklore Genre: Religious Observations and Holidays

  1. Text

The informant explained the customs and traditions of Ramadan, a religious observance in the Islamic faith. Ramadan occurs during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting means that no food, water, or other substances are consumed during this time period. No food molecules or water molecules should pass through your lips. Women who are menstruating, young children, elderly people, and very ill people are not allowed to fast because it may be harmful to them. In lieu of fasting, these people can donate, which is called kaffara. Fasting is meant to remind you of those who are less fortunate and don’t have access to food and water. It also is meant to cleanse your mind. In the evenings, the fast is broken during a meal called Iftar. Typically, this begins by eating a date, which is called tumrah. Iftar is typically a large feast shared by family and friends. Then, before sunrise, a meal called suhoor is eaten to prepare for the day of fasting. Ramadan also involves additional praying. During other months, observant Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca. For Ramadan, after the last prayer at the mosque, they do another prayer called taraweeh, which consists of either 8 or 20 rak’ats. Additionally, during each day of Ramadan, one book of the Quran is read. By the end of Ramadan, the entire Quran has been read. Ramadan lasts for one month. At the end of Ramadan, there is a holiday called Eid. Eid is a celebration that marks the end of the fasting period. It begins with a prayer in the morning. Then, the day is filled with feasts and visiting family and friends. Typically, older people will give money to younger people as well.

2. Context

The informant participates in these traditions and celebrations in the context of his Muslim faith. He learned these practices during his upbringing by his Palestinian family and his religious community.

3. Analysis

The practice of fasting over the period of a month represents a cultural value of discipline and self-control. Since fasting is meant to put people in the shoes of the less fortunate, it also represents values of empathy and gratitude. There is also a cultural value of promoting health and wellness within the community because vulnerable populations are not allowed to fast. Furthermore, the emphasis on charity reflects the cultural values of generosity and supporting other people. Finally, the community-wide prayers and feasts shared among families and friends suggest a cultural value of community and belonging. 


Within the Sindhi community, ‘Chetti Chand’ marks the celebration of the Sindhi New Year. On this auspicious day, it is customary for my friend’s family to wear white attire and practice vegetarianism, abstaining from meat for the entire 24-hour period.


During a conversation, my friend reflected on the annual tradition his family observes during ‘Chetti Chand.’ For the past decade, his family has enforced a strict ban on consuming chicken, urging him to avoid social outings and to dine at home instead. He recounted a memorable clash with his parents, sparked by their insistence on him wearing white clothing in adherence to the New Year’s customs, indicative of the tension that can arise when personal desires encounter cultural expectations.


The observance of ‘Chetti Chand’ in my friend’s Sindhi family is a vibrant example of religious folklore that intertwines personal purity with cultural renewal. Wearing white symbolizes a state of cleanliness and new beginnings, akin to the fresh start promised by a new year. The abstention from meat is a practice deeply rooted in many cultural traditions as a form of purification, reflecting Valdimar Tr. Hafstein’s notion of collective tradition. Here, the family unit serves as the custodian of cultural heritage, with practices such as these ensuring the transmission of values across generations. The resistance my friend exhibited towards changing into white attire speaks to the friction that can arise when modern individualistic tendencies meet the collective expectations of tradition. This tension is representative of the broader dialogue between contemporary personal identities and longstanding cultural practices. The familial insistence on observance points to the depth of cultural identity within the Sindhi community, and the importance of such rituals in reinforcing the communal fabric. The ritual here is not merely an act of refraining from certain foods or adopting a dress code but a reaffirmation of identity and belonging, symbolizing unity and continuity within the community, and illustrating the cultural significance embedded in seemingly simple acts.

Rancho Bernardo 4th of July Celebration

Main Piece

“Every fourth of July, my hometown puts on a parade that goes through the same few streets, where people dress up and decorate their cars with red, white and blue – some local businesses, organizations and sponsors are always part of the parade, along with the mayor, local beauty pageant winners, people like that who someone decides are important to the city for one reason or another. I got to be in it with a few other girls once, before my junior year of high school, because I’d won a local singing contest a month before. People stand along the streets to watch, which I’m sure I did a few times with my family growing up as well.
There are some other events associated with the parade, but the one I remember going to with my family is the fireworks show at night, which has always been held on the field of our local high school for as long as I can remember.”


Informant Interpretation: Informant notes she only feels connected to this tradition because it’s something that occurs in her hometown, and not because of the 4th of July. It’s shared by a small suburb, and thus more identity-defining and important to her.

Personal Interpretation: I found it interesting that many of these traditions seem to be a form of showcasing American “exceptionalism” or something “worth being proud of”–cars (wealth), beauty, those with political power. That feels very in line with the individualist framework America tries to set up for itself, as well as celebrating things that society deems of greater importance. Within this context, it is of course contained to a much smaller suburb, but I still felt those themes coming through in the particular description of events and holiday context.


Informant is a 21 year old college student who was raised in Rancho Bernardo, CA. She is female-presenting, white, and of European descent.