Tag Archives: tradition

USC Pre-Game Pole Kick

While going to a USC football game, it is tradition to kick the bottom of one of the poles on your way out of the entrance closest to Exposition Boulevard. There is both a light and flag pole that have wide bottoms as you go through the gates towards the coliseum. If you look at them on your way out you will both see and hear the effects of people kicking them as they go to cheer on the football team. It is said to be good luck for the team to kick either pole as you head to the game. At certain times in the season, the bottom guarding will actually break off from all of the kicking, but one of the poles will always be open. There are constant markings from the ware and tear on the pole and well as the ringing that follows the kick. If you do not kick the pole, many students believe the team will have bad luck and lose the game, or get injured. Informant was taught this by other individuals headed to the football games, and by noticing others kicking the pole as they went by.

Context – It is believed if you do not kick the pole, the team will have bad luck! It is unknown exactly what year or who started this tradition at the university but it is a widely accepted and practiced tradition, especially those who attended or currently attend USC. All kinds of people, from kids, adults, women, and men will do this as they head from campus to the coliseum for games.

Analysis – This is a common superstition practice at work. Many teams, schools, or even athletes have superstitious tendencies that help place the results of a game or wager on a “higher power.” This can be explained as a relaxer and a way to handle the stress of an upcoming event that a fan may have little to no control over.

Hawaiian Legend – Night Marchers

The legend of the Night Marchers is known by the informant due to their ethnic background. They grew up with a Pacific Islander cultural background in Hawaii where there is a lot of folklore. This legend in particular was about the Night Marchers who were often seen and heard at night throughout Oahu, and it was said to be the ghosts/spirits of the royal army. They were often unseen but heard until very close and were said to take the spirit of those who disrupted their path or did not pay their respects. There were many stories told to the informant about said Marchers, but the one specific story remembered was from the informant’s father who said he had fallen asleep on the beach in the path of the marchers and he woke up to the sound of them getting closer and closer, he quickly got his story together and moved before it was too late, and he paid his respects as they passed by, but he could hear their calls and drums the entire time although they could not be fully seen in front of him.

Context – the Night Marchers are said to appear at night on the islands as they travel through the island, stories include seeing the marchers, seeing their torches travel up mountains, hearing them march, and their drums. Hawaii is filled with many legends and tales as the culture is very tradition and folklore based, and the Night Marchers are just one legend of the many. For many islanders, these legends are very real and not just tales or stories.

Analysis – this legend gives place to spirits of those who have passed and are said to have served to protect those of the Hawaiian royal family as well as the islanders themselves. This legend gives respect to the spirits of those who follow the tradition and who want to pay respect to the royal army themselves, it teaches younger islanders about the history of their culture as well as lays grounding for respect of the culture. Like the informant, for many within this culture, these legends are a big part of the culture which not only shows respect but also has fun, interesting stories about interactions with these marchers.

Taiwanese story: Hou Yi and the 10 Suns

Nationality: Taiwanese
Primary Language: Taiwanese/Mandarin
Age: 76
Occupation: Retired, former teacher
Residence: Taipei, Taiwan
Performance Date: 24 March 2024

Tags: hou yi, taiwan, suns, origin, tradition, archer

Text:

Once upon a time, there were 10 suns in the sky. One day, they decided to all come out at the same time. The land was scorching and the people were on the brink of death from the heat, so they asked a legendary warrior, Hou Yi, to go and do something about the suns. Hou Yi was a great warrior and archer, but even he saw the difficulty of shooting down 10 celestial entities. He pondered upon how to deal with the suns for some time, and one day, Hou Yi looked down and saw a puddle of water reflecting the 10 suns. Hou Yi then shot arrows at the reflections of 9 suns inside the puddle, causing the real 9 suns in the sky to disappear, leaving only 1 sun so that humanity wouldn’t have an endless night. Thus, that is how and why there is 1 sun in the sky today.

Context:

C. is a born and raised Taiwanese citizen, and has told her fair share of stories to her children and grandchildren alike. This story is one of the most famous and commonly known stories in Taiwan and most other East Asian countries, and C. was even surprised when I asked her to tell it again for this class since she knew I had heard it multiple times.

Analysis:

Being one of the oldest stories in Chinese (and thus Asian) folklore, there are a myriad of different details and versions of the story that contest the sequence of events. Some versions include the Jade Emperor being the one to appoint Hou Yi, others include the rooster as the reason the last sun comes back up, and a plethora of other changes/additions. Overall, this is a good example of a common story with various differences being made by various different storytellers over time.

Hold Your Breath!

‘When I was younger my parents and older siblings taught me the superstition that whenever we had to drive across a bridge, it was necessary to hold your breath or else the bridge would collapse underneath us. I still do it now, even though I know the bridge obviously won’t collapse, but what if it does because I wasn’t holding my breath?!’ – NZ

This superstition has had a grasp on NZ as long as he can remember; a hold so tight, he refuses to not hold his breath if he has to drive across a bridge. He also shares this superstition and ritual with his friends, also forcing them to partake in it. NZ can’t remember a single time he did not hold his breath going over a bridge, “the ritual has practically taken over my life” he emphasizes. He also grew up in New York, a state with many bridges, thus this tradition was fully engrained in him from a young age driving around with his family. NZ also plans to continue to share this superstition with friends, and one day “trick” his own future kids into holding the same ‘bridge-crossing’ ritual.

My first impression was that my own father actually taught me the same superstition; a superstition I have not met many other people to have! Superstitions in folklore have long existed and take hold to prevent misfortune and bad luck among communities. While this superstition did not have a community wide affect, it is a familial folk belief that has been passed down to yet another generation, as NZ’s parents learned it from their parents and shared it with each other when they first met. This superstition is a classic example of oral tradition, and also folk beliefs in supernatural forces. For example, there must be some supernatural force to make a bridge collapse, so holding your breath will prevent it, much like knocking on wood to un-jinx something.

Fox Day

‘Both of my parents went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and every year they have a fox day. It is an annual tradition and festival that was started decades ago by the president of the University. So each year on a day in spring that was “too pretty to have class”, the president would put a fox statue on the lawn in front of campus and all the students on campus would get free buses to the beach. Since my parents went there, every year on fox day, when I was younger I would skip school and we would always go and take a picture in front of the fox and have a fox day celebration of going out to enjoy the weather.” – PH

PH’s parents would celebrate fox day every year in college, and continue to do so even when PH was a baby. He has countless baby photos of him with the fox statue, showing him grow up on the nicest spring days of the year. The biggest role this has had in PH’s life is that it has allowed him to hold a huge connection with his mom, and is something he will never forget. This ritual also feels like a superstition to him… Every spring day if the weather is beautiful out it could be fox day. It encourages him to take in the new weather and get excited for what’s to come.

Statue on Rollins’ Campus put out to symbolize Fox Day each year

Fox Day is a celebration and ritual that has been passed down through generations, obviously leaving a mark on many who celebrate, as PH always wonders on beautiful days if Rollins College is having their Fox Day. The annual ritual enforces a sense of tradition and significance for a community that is shared and celebrated throughout Winter Park, Florida, just as folklore intends. Additionally, the fox statue works as a symbolic figure, as it represents the tradition and allows the community to recognize what day it is! Also, in much a folklore, a strong motif is that of a fox, holding symbolic significance, and in this scenario, this fox signifies the beginning of beautiful weather and prompting the community to go enjoy their day outside. Fox Day embodies many folkloristic behaviors and contributes to a sense of community and tradition.