Tag Archives: tradition


In a particular birthday tradition known as ‘birthday bumps,’ the individual celebrating a birthday is subjected to playful kicks and hits by friends, signifying their right to do so on this occasion.


My roommate’s recounting of birthdays spent at an all-boys boarding school painted a picture of both celebration and apprehension. The day would command a compulsory treat for all, paired with the ritualistic ‘birthday bumps.’ This tradition, seemingly harsh, was upheld even in the presence of authority figures who stood by, recognizing the practice as customary. Although the physical aspect of the ritual was moderated in his college years, the essence remained through symbolic gestures like a slap on the back or the more mirthful cake smashing.


The practice of ‘birthday bumps’ embodies a folk custom that acts as an informal rite of passage, echoing the trials one undergoes to enter a new phase of life. This ritual, while appearing merely as a form of entertainment or a test of endurance, carries deeper cultural and personal significance. It is a manifestation of the community’s acknowledgment of an individual’s transition into a new year of life, as well as a reinforcement of social bonds through shared, albeit challenging, experiences. Ray Cashman’s research into visual displays of identity in Irish nationalism suggests that such customs function similarly, where actions and symbols serve to reaffirm connections within a community. The physicality of ‘birthday bumps’ is a tangible expression of this social fabric, a collective embrace through playful yet ritualized aggression. Furthermore, it reflects the implicit understanding and acceptance of certain levels of discomfort in the service of tradition, paralleling other cultural practices where symbolic actions are believed to confer blessings or good luck. This tradition encapsulates the juxtaposition of individual endurance and communal celebration, uniting the group in a singular, memorable moment that marks personal growth and social continuity.

Text: In 2004, a vengeful spirit forces a Bhawanigarh family to abandon their mansion. Decades later, Ruhaan and Reet, mistaken for dead, hide there, uncovering the spirit’s true identity as a family betrayal. The climax reveals a switcheroo between twins Anjulika and Manjulika, leading to a spectral showdown and a plea for forgiveness.

Context: My brother told me about a tale set in Bhawanigarh, where in 2004, a malevolent spirit forced a family to abandon their mansion. Fast forward to 2022, Ruhaan and Reet, who narrowly escape a fatal accident, seek refuge in this very mansion. Ruhaan becomes known as Rooh Baba, believed to communicate with spirits, amid the family’s misconception of Reet’s demise. The spirit’s identity is revealed to be Manjulika, Anjulika’s jealous twin, skilled in black magic. The plot thickens when the family discovers Reet is alive and Ruhaan’s pretended possession by Manjulika, who had been impersonating Anjulika all along. In a dramatic turn, the true Anjulika’s spirit traps Manjulika, advising the family to forgive Reet for her deceit. This tale, weaving through themes of supernatural revenge, mistaken identities, and familial bonds, culminates in a haunting yet poignant resolution, where the spirit’s entrapment brings an end to the family’s curse, leaving a lingering question of forgiveness and redemption.


The tale from Bhawanigarh intertwines supernatural vengeance with familial betrayal, reflecting deep-seated cultural values surrounding family dynamics and redemption. The malevolent spirit, Manjulika, driven by jealousy and skilled in black magic, embodies the dark consequences of familial discord, resonating with Domino Renee Perez’s observation that folklore figures “wield power by making often incomprehensible and at times contemptible choices” (Perez 155). The narrative’s twist, revealing Manjulika’s identity through a twin switcheroo, delves into themes of deception and truth, showcasing the cultural fascination with doppelgängers and the supernatural as mirrors to human psychology.

The climax, marked by a spectral showdown and a plea for forgiveness, underscores the cultural emphasis on reconciliation and the healing potency of forgiveness. This aligns with the belief in redemption’s possibility, highlighting the transformative power of understanding and absolution within personal and cultural realms. Furthermore, the mansion’s role as the story’s backdrop, abandoned due to the spirit’s wrath, emphasizes the significance of space in spiritual beliefs, akin to Ülo Valk’s analysis of how environments shape folklore (Valk 31).

Text: A gold idol that might be cursed is placed in Mahadev Mandir (temple) in India and the idol has been stolen 7 times but mysteriously always returned within 24 hours.

Context:my friend from Kolkata shared a fascinating tale about the Mahadev Mandir in his city, nestled in the eastern part of India. This temple houses an intriguing gold idol, rumored to be cursed. The enigmatic charm of the idol has led to it being stolen not once but seven times. Yet, each theft is shrouded in mystery as the idol inexplicably finds its way back to the temple within a mere 24 hours. This recurring phenomenon has not only deepened the mystique surrounding the idol but also led to widespread speculation and lore among the locals, who regard the idol’s inevitable return as a divine or supernatural intervention, ensuring its presence within the sacred confines of the Mahadev Mandir.

Analysis: This tale encapsulates more than just an intriguing story; it embodies the intricate interplay of faith, mystique, and cultural heritage that pervades many Indian communities. This narrative, shared among friends and locals, transcends the boundaries of mere folklore, touching upon the deep-seated belief in divine intervention and the supernatural that often characterizes Indian spiritual and cultural ethos.

The idol’s uncanny ability to return to its sacred abode within 24 hours of being stolen, a phenomenon that has occurred seven times, resonates with Domino Renee Perez’s observation that folklore figures or objects wield power by making “often incomprehensible and at times contemptible choices” (Perez 155). Here, the idol, though inanimate, assumes a persona imbued with a divine or supernatural will, challenging the rational and inviting speculation about higher powers and the sacredness of objects within religious contexts.

Furthermore, the community’s reaction to the idol’s return, viewing it as a divine or supernatural intervention, underscores the cultural and historical value placed on such artifacts. It reflects a collective belief in the sanctity and divine protection of religious symbols, underscoring the role of faith in shaping communal narratives and practices. This shared belief system, woven into the fabric of daily life, serves not only to affirm faith but also to bind the community together through shared stories that underscore a common cultural heritage and identity.

Text: In the quaint British village near Durham, the ‘Wald Inns’ hotel harbors a chilling tale from the 1980s. A girl’s tragic end in room 212 spawned a series of inexplicable fatalities, sealing the room’s fate and the hotel’s closure within a mere month. Whispers abound that her spirit lingers, eternally confined to that very room.

Context: While sharing eerie stories one evening, my friend from a serene British village recounted the haunting history of ‘Wald Inns.’ The hotel, once bustling, became the stage for a harrowing narrative in the ’80s when a young girl’s life ended in despair in room 212. This event marked the beginning of a terrifying pattern: subsequent guests of the room never emerged alive. The sequence of mysterious deaths led to the hotel’s swift shutdown. Today, the abandoned ‘Wald Inns’ stands as a spectral reminder, with locals firmly believing the girl’s spirit remains, eternally wandering within the walls of room 212.

Analysis: The haunting history of the ‘Wald Inns’ hotel in room 212, where a young girl’s tragic demise led to a series of unexplained fatalities, transcends mere ghostly folklore. This narrative, deeply ingrained in the local community’s consciousness, reflects a collective engagement with themes of loss, the afterlife, and the quest for understanding beyond the tangible. As Domino Renee Perez highlights, folklore figures like the girl’s spirit in room 212 wield power through their actions, often leaving a lasting impact on cultural memory and communal identity (Perez 155). The tale of the ‘Wald Inns’ serves not just as a chilling story but as a cultural expression that probes the boundaries between life and death, invoking questions about justice, remembrance, and the unseen forces that linger in our midst. It embodies a communal narrative that navigates the complexities of human existence and the mysteries that defy explanation, serving as a poignant reminder of the past’s enduring presence in the collective psyche.

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is an extremely popular drink in modern culture however what many people do not know is that this drink has roots stretching back to regions in South America. My informant, who’s family is from Argentina, shed insight on the origins of this populus drink and its deeply instated traditions. The origin of Yerba Mate starts back centuries when ancient natives saved the lives of the moon god and cloud god (Yasí and Araí) from a jaguar. As a gift, these deities bestowed Yerba Mate seeds to thank the natives for their rescue. Yerba Mate was a drink which was then shared amongst the natives, being passed around for all to enjoy. It was very unique to have a drink which coincides with being a social occasion. Yerba Mate is more than just sharing a drink, it is about sharing life’s simple pleasures. 

Yerba Mate proves to demonstrate cultural and historical significance with deep roots stemming from the South American country of Argentina. The cultural tradition of consuming Yerba Mate stretches back centuries to ancient indigenous peoples, who received the seeds as a gift from deities in gratitude for saving the lives of celestial beings. This origin story imbues Yerba Mate with a sense of sacredness and communal importance, as it symbolizes a connection between humanity and the divine. Yerba Mate transcends mere refreshment, serving as a social and cultural practice that fosters both community and shared experiences. The act of passing around the drink amongst the community reflects the importance of camaraderie and hospitality within indigenous societies. This reflects in our modern society today, emphasizing the role of Yerba Mate as a conduit for bonding and interpersonal connection.