Tag Archives: Rituals


My informant is a Pakistani male that has lived in many different countries across the world, yet his attachment to Pakistan and its culture plays a significant role in his life and how he lives.

Traditional Food:

Mithai is a “type of box or category of sweets” that exist within Pakistani culture. It is comprised of “different sweet treats and toffees that you give out to houses at the weddings.” He describes these sweets as a form of an invite for party favours that occur at the wedding. The sweets are often seen as a ‘thank you’ or token of appreciation and reminder of the wedding, they are the “staple sweets at Pakistani weddings”


The Mithai is usually made by certain stores in Pakistan that specialize in providing the sweets “on a large scale when they also are able to maintain the best quality” for the guests. Even though my informant is Pakistani and has seen these sweets at weddings and different family events that he has attended, it is “a general desi traditional sweet that also exists in India”. This sweet is provided before the dinner or reception as a sort of snack or small bite in order to keep the guests satiated and entertained for the long day of traditions ahead.


The incorporation of food into big events in Pakistan such as weddings allows the guests to feel like they are being cared for in a certain environment. It ties it back to their culture as the unified feeling of togetherness that is provided in the event is seen through Pakistani food as a whole which is usually made for sharing and family-oriented events. The ability that their culture possesses by bringing their families together with food allows them to maintain their connections with the children and set in place the values that they hold when prioritising family. Furthermore, this is seen in the wedding sweets as the guests are seen as part of the family and are given the opportunity to celebrate the day with the community whilst being fed and incorporated into a family tradition.

Two Dollar Bill


The informant was given a two dollar bill by a grandparent of a close friend from college. It acts as a good luck charm, and the informant carries it with them wherever they go in their wallet.


This particular grandparent had a unique tradition of handing out two dollar bills to those they deemed important in their life or in the life of their loved ones. The grandparent took a moment with each of the friends of his granddaughter, and gave each of them two-dollar bills. This moment created a sense of connection and solidarity among the recipients, fostering a shared bond through the common experience of receiving the two dollar bill. The intimate moment shared between the informant and the grandparent further highlights the significance of this gesture, as the grandparent acknowledged the informant’s importance to their grandchild.


The two dollar bill, often associated with luck due to its rarity in circulation, serves as a symbol of protection, good fortune, and well wishes from the grandparent. Additionally, the bill acts as a reminder of the informant’s college friends and their shared experiences, emphasizing the importance of maintaining connections with those who positively impacted their life. This moment acts as both a ritual and a superstition. The grandparent took the time with each individual, ensuring that the performance of handing over the bill was both sincere and impactful. Because the grandparent performed this ritual effectively, the informant continues to believe in the bill they carry around with them daily.

Senior Soccer practice


EI: “So basically, on the club soccer team, we have a tradition: when the seniors graduate, we have a “senior practice.” Basically, before we go to the field, we go to someone’s house or apartment and get really drunk, really trashed, and then we go to the field and then just mess around on the field. We play like, small side games. It’s basically the last hurrah in sending them off into life after college. We do it every year for the graduating seniors.”

CONTEXT: EI is a freshman at USC studying business who doesn’t drink. She’s been playing soccer since high school, and she made varsity club soccer in her first year at USC: this is her first year learning about the senior practice tradition.

ANALYSIS: EI hasn’t yet participated in this tradition. She’s learning this as a freshman, and because she doesn’t drink, so she can’t fully participate in the tradition and express her identity as a member of the club team. As for the seniors, the senior practice being one “last hurrah” is necessary from a psychological standpoint: the end of college soccer is genuinely the end of an era. The club soccer team is not professional—this is likely one of the last times that these students will play soccer in this capacity. For that matter, this is the end of their athletic prime in terms of biology. Any league that graduated students participate in from this point forward will take much more effort to play with the same consistency and the same high energy. The senior practice helps provide a bookend, officially marking the beginning of this new era. Even the consumption of alcohol helps solidify their new place as adults. Even though many students illegally drink in college, seniors are finally of age, making the fact that their drinking is legal a mark of seniority.

Pre-Game Hockey Ritual

Context :

JF is a 22 year old college student at USC from Rhode Island. He has been playing hockey since he was four or five years old, and started competitive hockey in middle school. In high school, he played on his varsity team, and became close with all the players. They did a pre-game ritual before each game for good luck, which boosted their spirits in pursuit of winning state championship every year.

Text :

“Before my hockey games, I would have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because Sidney Crosby, who is one of the best players in NHL in my opinion, used to say he ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before each game for good energy, like good vibes. And then my teammates would always play the same songs in the locker room, like Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You and also Chiraq, which its a completely different vibe. They were our good luck songs for the game. So the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the songs were my pre-game ritual.”

Analysis :

Rituals don’t always have to be for specific cultures or religions, and often materialize in everyday situations. Many sports teams have their own pre-game rituals that they use to get into the right headspace or use for good luck. Because JF idolized his favorite hockey player who would eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before each game, he implemented that into his own ritual and convinced himself that eating that sandwich would lead him to win a game. Rituals are also bonding experiences and often create communities, so JF and his team became really close because they did this ritual before each game.

Huevo Limpia-Egg Cleanse: Mexican Cleansing Ritual


Me: “Grandma, remember when you rubbed an egg on my brother when he was little? Was that some sort of ritual?

EG: “Oh yes, haha that is called huevo limpia. I learned it from my mom. My mom was very religious and I grew up seeing her use an egg in order to remove the Evil Eye, el Mal de Ojo. Typically, an egg is used to absorb any negative energy in order to cleanse the body and aura. The way I was taught was to rub an egg all over one’s body and to wish the bad luck or spirits away. Typically, I will say a prayer like the ‘Our Father’, in Spanish of course. But yes I do remember doing this when your brother was very young because he was very anxious and scared about something; when he told me I knew to simply open the fridge and grab an egg so I can quickly get rid of any negative spirits.”

Me: “But why an egg?” 

EG: “Supposedly my mom said that within Catholic spiritualism, it is common to use an egg because eggs have the power to energetically absorb any negative energy that one may have. You are supposed to take an egg, hold it close to your heart and say a prayer or any wishful affirmations before you start rubbing it around one’s body from head to toe. Once that process is finished, you can actually crack the egg and you can see the bad energy that was absorbed. If the egg is bubbly, foggy, or has strings from the yolk, that means the bad energy was extracted. When you crack the egg, you can see your results and notice if the cleansing has worked or not.”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-EG’s relationship with this piece stems from her Mexican and Catholic culture and overall spiritualism within her own beliefs and those of her mother’s. EG would hear of this ritual practice from her mother given that she grew up in a Catholic household where she was accustomed to witness these ritual performances taking place within her living room whenever someone came to her house for a cleansing. EG interprets this ritual as an act of purified meditation. Given that this performance allows for bad energy to be removed and cleansed from one’s aura, EG intercepts this egg ritual to be an organic act that allows someone to feel protected and start a “new beginning”. 

Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

– The overall cultural value within this ritual stems from a typical Catholic and Mexican household where these acts are often seen being linked to the concept of “brujería” or “witchcraft”. Despite the negative connotation that witchcraft receives, many Mexican-Catholic communities tend to believe that the act of huevo limpia takes on a more religious approach due to the prayers and religious affirmations that are said during the process; this can be seen as an ethical approach to the lifestyles of many Mexican Catholics. The personal values that can be seen within this ritual is the strong spiritual beliefs that an individual inherits within themselves as they truly need to believe that such an organic household item, like an egg, can be used as a spiritual tool in order to heal something that is not visible to the human eye. I see this ritual as an overall act that enables a sense of clarity and tranquility within one’s mindset. Considering that I experienced this ritual being done to my brother, I remember the reassurance and satisfaction that was washed over my brother after EG inspected the results of the egg. From being exposed to the process from start to finish, I am able to see this ritual as a natural symbol of comfort and protection as the religious aspect embedded within the performance can lead one to feel “clean” and protected from any bad energies; this was evident within my brother’s reaction. Considering eggs represent new life, the earth, and God within mythological beliefs, it is with no curiosity that an egg is the main emphasis within this religious practice. A similar ritual that has similar notions to huevo limpia is the spiritual ritual within sage/Palo Santo cleansing. As a matter of fact, the process of burning sage/Palo Santo as you walk around your home, letting the smoke coat the atmosphere, is similar to this egg ritual because they both are performed with the intention of getting rid of evil and or bad energies/spirits. These concepts within the egg ritual and the sage/Palo Santo ritual are acts of contagious “magic” given that these performances carry out an action with the emphasis of touching and or being connected to the designated target within a magical act.