Tag Archives: love

Pennies from Heaven

Context: Pennies are a form of American currency equaling 1 cent. Their low value makes them adaptable since people are generally not worried about conserving them. because of this, pennies have also become a common object of folklore-ish discussion.

Background Information: Informant’s grandmother died young, and the informant’s mother and father died when informant was in their twenties. Informant and Informants family are/were Christian and very relationally close to one another. The loss of their family has been very difficult for informant.

Informant: “My mother used to tell me that when my grandmother- her mother- died, that she would send pennies to her as kisses from heaven. Whenever we saw a penny on the side of the street, she would tell me grandma had sent it. When my own mom died, I went to the funeral, and I had paid a parking meter. When I came back to my car, the meter had broken and all these pennies littered the ground. I just bawled and bawled and bawled. Completely broke down crying.”

Thoughts: The presence of pennies is common folklore, and is often perceived as a sign of some sort when found accidentally. Whether or not the parking meter was a coincidence or not, the folklore surrounding the penny stands firm. The penny in this situation connects a member of a family group to the other members, even after death. The folklore is a unifying front, which unifies the member of this group and gives credence to the belief that the members of the group will continue to embody their group identity even after death.

Oversalting rice

–Informant Info–

Nationality: Costa Rican

Age: 47

Occupation: Unemployed

Residence: Los Angeles

Date of Performance/Collection: 2022

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Spanish

*Notes: The informant will be referred to as GC and the interviewer as K. Many parts of this story were told in Spanish and appears here in its translated form, translated by her son)

Background info: GC is a mother of 2 who grew up in a small town in Costa Rica. Her Grandmother, who she heard these stories from, was a believer in natural medicine and related practices.

Context: This story was told to me over drinks in the evening as a final addition to the few she had told me in the hours prior. The informant mentioned that this was told to her my her grandma as a way to embarrass her, so the informant was telling it to her son and me as a way to embarrass us.

GC: I have one more to tell you. *laughter* I hope-I hope it doesn’t embarrass you to horribly *laughter*

K: Oh god *laughter* Go ahead, whats the name of the folklore and how do you know of it?

GC: UH…it was something you just kinda…heard but my grandma she-she was the one to tell me I guess

K: Ok, go ahead

GC: So it goes that uh…ig your like…making rice that if you-what is it over salt or under salt the rice?

Son: You told me over

GC: Right *laughter* oversalting rice means youre in love! So when my son oevrsalted his rice, I-I fraeekd out *laughter* I was like “Oh my God! *waves her arms in the arm* Hes in love!” *Large deep sigh before laughing*.

I think this is really cute! Rice is a large part of so many Hispanic meals, especially somewhere like Costa Rica, so it makes sense that they’d use something more familiar to test if someones in love. It stems from being distracted enough to forget how to do something you’ve done countless times before. I also think that noting the fact this is something, as the informant said “you just kind of hear” around. Its not something dated, or something that only parents say, people will say it to their friends, siblings etc to embarrass them. Its a teasing sort of ritual.

Fickle in Luck, Fickle in Love

Main Performance:

  • “Te który maja miłość w kartę nie ma miłości”
    • Transliterated Proverb
      • Te który = Those who
      • Maja = Have
      • Miłość = Love
      • w kartę = With cards
      • nie = No
      • ma = Has
    • Full Translation: Those who have love in cards have no love.
      • Explanation: The proverb refers to how those who have fair luck in life do not have love in their lives.


The informant, JK, is one of my close friends from my Catholic high school who I maintain contact with after graduation. He hails from a devoutly Catholic Polish family. Among most of the families that I knew of while attending, most of my classmates did not speak their family lineage’s mother tongue except for most of the my Polish and Hispanic classmates. No German and definitely not any Irish being spoken there.


My informant is currently attending medical school in Poland and I reached out to him through social media to ask if he had any traditional/folk-things he could share with me given his actively apparent and practiced Polish heritage, doubly so now that he is back in Poland.

My Thoughts:

What comes to my mind is that whoever has luck or whoever flaunts their luck is hiding the fact they have no love in their lives. Humility is a rather enormous concept in the Catholic faith so it only makes sense that those who are prideful about themselves, their fortune, and their lives are rather empty beneath it all and have no genuine love. Love also goes without saying as another key concept in Christianity as a whole and a life without love, or God’s love, is probably not life at all. Since this still Catholicism we’re discussing, it is never too late to renounce those prideful ways to become more humble so there isn’t a permanently accusatory tone there but there isn’t technically a suggestion for repentance, only pointing out an observation. Also seems to be another version of “lucky at cards, unlucky in love”.

The I-Love-You Game


The interview is with one of my friends as she recounts a game that she used to play with her family



The following is a story told to me by the interviewee.

“Growing up, at the end of our day when we were checking in we would play the game called the I love you game. It always had to be right as the person came in, so my sister and I would wait by the door, and as our parents came in, I would jump out, and then we would have to say the phrase “reflection, block, power base, force field, I love you more than you can say do think to imagine count listen hear write whatever you can think of goo-gol plex, I win the I love you game” and whoever said the phrase the fastest they would win the I Love you game. My mom came up with the game and we played it until I was sixteen years old.”



This very cute and sweet family ritual is perhaps one of my favorite pieces that I have collected. It is a simple game played amongst a family of four, in which the family shows each other how much they love one another. This game likely started as a silly thing that the mother did when the children were younger which then became a ritual that the family consistently practices. Knowing the interviewee, I have an understanding of her family background in which her father was not home for a lot of her childhood and thus this game could have been a way to show the children how much bother parents loved and cared for them, even if one of them could not have always been around.

Armenian Foodway – Salt Biscuits

(This conversation took place in Armenian)

Main Piece

My informant described a traditional game that is very popular amongst the single youngsters in Armenia. On January 29 (the eve of the 30th), Armenians celebrate Saint Sarkis, or Սուրբ Սարգիս (pronounced “Surb Sarkis”), who was a military martyr. On the day before the celebration, single youngsters make and eat a very salty type of cookie, called Aghablit (Աղաբլիթ) and avoid water before going to bed. It is said that their future husband or wife will bring them water in their dream to relieve them of the extreme saltiness of the cracker. In the morning, they share their dreams with each other and see who “wins” the game, as in, who saw the most attractive and eligible people in their dreams.


This tradition is performed every year on the eve of Surb Sarkis, which is January 29. This a casual event meant to entertain adults and forecast the future of youngsters. The results of this tradition are not to be taken seriously, but to entertain possibilities of the future. 


My informant learned about this tradition from her classmates, who were all excited to meet their future spouse in their dreams. My informant explained that this tradition emphasized the importance of getting married and creating a family. She concluded that, because it is practiced by both boys and girls and is not limited to one gender, it is telling of the societal expectations for youngsters. Men and women were expected to prioritize getting married and building a family above all else. This tradition was specifically performed only on the day of Surb Sarkis. 

My Thoughts

This tradition emphasizes the importance of building a family. Armenians are very family-oriented, and it is important for parents to instill the same family values in their children. This salt biscuit tradition helps youngsters look to the future to build a family of their own. 

This tradition also assumes that the primary purpose of dreams is to show one’s deepest desires. This purpose is in line with Sigmund Freud’s definition of dreams, in which he explains that dreams show us what we wish to accomplish in our lives. Of course, this is not a scientifically proven method for finding your future spouse, but it is an entertaining tradition to participate in.