Occupation: Pharmacy Administrator
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/17/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Persian, French, Spanish
Main Piece (direct transcription):
Mom: Before dad and I went on our honeymoon to Madrid, dad’s mom held up the Quran, and so did his grandmother, and we actually had to walk underneath the Quran to prevent anything evil from happening to us in our travels.
Me: It wasn’t just for the plane; it was for all of your travels?
Mom: Well, they didn’t state it, but I felt it was like their way of confirming that our trip would be as safe as possible.
Context: The informant, my mother, is a pharmacy administrator living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was originally born in New York but moved to New Mexico with her family at a young age. Her father, a playwright and artist, was invested in his Native American heritage. From her travels around New Mexico, moving from place to place when she was young, and also hearing stories from her father and my father, who is from Iran, she has gathered a variety of folktales. My dad is originally from Iran, and all his family members are also from Iran, so my mom and I were talking about Iranian superstition and folklore that my mom has experienced while being married to him. Since my grandmother is heavily Muslim, and is a very superstitious woman, my mom has learned about most Iranian superstitions through her.
My Thoughts: This is interesting because it is my mom’s, who is American, viewpoint on Iranian superstition. Even though my grandma and my great-grandma did not explain to my mom why they wanted them to walk under the Quran before their travels, my mom was able to guess the purpose of it. Although different cultures have their own superstitions, I feel like many feelings of superstition and fear are universal. This superstition made me think about how different individuals express different feelings of things such as fear, excitement, and happiness. People in America might say, “Have a safe flight!” or “Safe travels!” before a major trip such as a honeymoon; however my Iranian family wanted my parents to walk underneath a Quran to express this sentiment.