Tag Archives: Token

Red Ribbon of Fate in Chinese Folklore

Main Piece:

KY: “The red thread of fate, or the red ribbon of fate, is this idea originating from Asian culture— I think specifically Chinese culture. It’s this thread that connects two people, these two lovers, two partners, or star-crossed lovers… It connects them even if they are far apart or right next to each other… It’s this idea that they will somehow meet. It’s been told in a couple of media, one specifically… (Your Name) Kimi no Na wa, anime movie. There are some people who like have a red ribbon attached to them or an accessory that they have… I’ve seen it more often used as a way to tie someone’s hair… Like a charm of sorts… My friend spoke of it… Once you hear about it, you see it everywhere now, especially in Eastern Asian media….


This was taken from a conversation with me and one of my suitemates, who is of Japanese descent, in the Cale & Irani Apartments in USC Village. He heard of this from one of his middle school friends who was Filipina.


The Red Thread of Fate or Red Thread of Marriage is an East Asian belief of Chinese origin. The psychological associations we have with the color red such as passion, love, or lust remain ever present in this belief. From my own Vietnamese cultural background, I know it can also be associated with luck. This is just one of many examples of how people use physical objects as representations of themselves or something that keeps them connected to others, along the same line as friendship bracelets or wedding rings. One should also note how the folk belief was popularized beyond China, and to Asian audiences in general, through its use in film and cartoon, particularly in anime. This can be evidenced by my suitemate and his childhood friend, who are Japanese and Filipina.

Ullr Skiing Medal

Title: Ullr Skiing Medal

Category: Magic Charm

Informant: Judith Keller

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: Lower 70s

Occupation: Hospital Research Receptionist— Homemaker, Nurse, etc.

Residence: Fort Worth, Texas

Date of Collection: 4/09/18


An Ullr medal is a tiny figure of an Scandinavian God known as Ullr that protects skiers from harm. The medal is worn around the patron’s neck and under the skier’s jacket.


Judith Keller says that she used to wear the Ullr medal when she skied as a young girl. Her Uncle made her wear it under her normal ski clothes along with her cousins.

According to some historic accounts, Ullr was unbeatable on skis, never losing a race.  Some believe the Aurora Borealis is the snow flying off the tail of his skis.  In Germanic mythology Ullr is the main ski god of the 19th and 20th century; his character helped to establish a feeling of common identity among skiing pioneers in Norway and Central Europe, who prayed to him to insure the earth will be covered with snow, protecting it from winter’s harm.

In the United States, ski towns throw parties and parades in his honor.

Ullr medals have been popular with European skiers for over 100 years; they wear them for protection from harm while on the mountain. These medals have become highly collectible.

Personal Thoughts:

The medals are used by skiers as a token to ward off bad luck and bring protection to the wearer of the medal. The medals are apparently only produced “authentically” by one company and therefore exhibit the producer/consumer model we’ve studied of modernity in class. The medals claim to have a magical power that can protect winter sport enthusiasts. Mostly, these are used as an almost tourist item from the time spent skiing.


For additional history behind these medals, see:


MLA Citation:

“Ullr Ski Medals, Unique, Collectable, Custom Made Ski Medals. Ski Medals to Commemorate Ski Events – Ski Resort Events and Ski Resort Openings!” Ullr Ski Medals, Unique, Collectable, Custom Made Ski Medals. Ski Medals to Commemorate Ski Events – Ski Resort Events and Ski Resort Openings!, Ullr Ski Medals, www.ullrskimedals.com/.