Tag Archives: Traditions

No Marriage After Death

‘It is a Hindu custom (based on what my mom says) that you are not supposed to get married within a year of death of a close family member. That is a time of mourning. Also, after one year, you basically have another funeral called the Last Rites. When my dad’s mom died my parents couldn’t get married that year even though they met 10 months after she died and were engaged.’ -HP

While HP has never had to partake in this custom, she recognizes that it is an important custom of Hindu culture. She believes that it brings unity to the family before bringing in someone new. This custom is centuries old in Hindu faith.

My first impression of this custom was surprise at how the Hindu community respects and remembers loved ones that have passed and allow a period of mourning. Refraining from such celebrations, like a wedding, allows those involved to grieve and truly acknowledge the loved one who passed away. I think that this is a very sensitive and beautiful way to show honor to the departed, as they refrain from any activities that may take away from the impact the person had. Additionally, the celebration of the Last Rites practice, being common in Hindu tradition a year after death, feels like a final remembrance and closure for all. These customs are from traditional beliefs, many of which probably sprouted from folk practices throughout the history of India and Hindu culture. Folklore also encompasses cultures and beliefs, sharing this in common with these customs. It is also evident that HP and her family learned these rituals from ancestral sources; practices that have been learned, taught, and passed down through generations, just as folklore is known for.

Always eat noodles on your birthday

Context: My informant is a family

My informant states that a Filipino superstition that she knows of is that “you should always eat noodles on your birthday”. Though, she acknowledges that this superstition may not just apply to Filipinos because other Asian countries prominently have noodles as a part of their culture, just like white rice. And in this case, Filipinos eat Pancit.

She says the reason for this is that noodles symbolize having a long life. And her experience with this tradition, and also superstition is that she has always had noodles for her birthday and has always seen noodles (or specifically pancit) in the dishes among many others at family’s birthdays and get togethers.

She interprets this as carrying on noodles as a part of being Filipino, and also because of the length of the noodles.


This Filipino tradition is also a superstition.

Analyzing this piece of folklore, it seems to stem from other Asian cultures. Noodles are a part of many Asian cultures, and I believe that it emphasizes on the idea of “pan-asianism”. Though it does seem to be very harmonizing and it does not mean it is all the same for all Asian cultures. Because the Philippines has their own staple of noodles, which is pancit.

Furthermore, my informant does not seem to state any worry about this superstition. Pancit/noodles are just that important to Filipinos because it is an important part of a celebration meal and a favorite common (but not basic) food. Food can carry heavy symbolic messages for people. In this case, noodles may represent longevity but also embracing and loving a staple food that most people enjoy in all sorts of contexts (not just parties).

Festival of Lights in Downtown Riverside California


Collector: “Did you participate in any specific rituals or festivals growing up?”

Informant: “I grew up attending the Festival of Lights in Downtown Riverside, California. It’s always around Christmas time. They cover the entire downtown city in Christmas lights. It’s beautiful. There are musicians, usually solo artists, that come out they’ll put a bucket right next to them to collect tips. There’s a guy who brings his dog with him every year while he plays banjo. There’s a lot of different vendors, like there’s one specific hot cocoa stand that’s usually there. I forget the name. Some people sell glow stick toys to kids. The crowd is mostly families and couples.”

Collector: “Is there a main ceremony or is it just seeing lights?”

Informant: “There is like a main ceremony where they turn all the lights on. You know, the first night that’s when it’s the most crowded. Everybody goes downtown and they wait for them to turn on the lights.”


The informant is a twenty-year-old male from Riverside California. 


I found the informant’s description of the Festival of Lights interesting, as I also grew up in Riverside but rarely participated in this downtown tradition. The Informant spoke fondly of the festival with warmth and smiled as he remembered small details from his childhood. I took the festival for granted, but his perspective made me see the tradition in a whole new light. The Informant feels very connected to the city of Riverside because he participated in community events annually. I felt disconnected from the community in my childhood, as I wasn’t involved in many hometown traditions. Local festivals have the power to create a sense of belonging in communities and build a strong emotional connection to a geographic location. 

Rival Bonfire


“A festival that I loved at [boarding school] was our bonfire night. It was so weird though because our grade had the absolute worst luck. For 3 out of the 4 years of high school, we weren’t able to do it. The first two years it was raining on the day the bonfire was scheduled, then we finally got to do it junior year, but then senior year COVID cancelled it. But the one year we were able to do it was really fun!

Essentially, the bonfire happens after the pep rally the night before our [rival school]’s Day, which is basically our biggest sports event of the year where we spend the entire day just doing fall sports against our rival school. Their mascot is literally a door. Which is so goofy, like they are just asking to be made fun of. Anyways, during the pep rally, our mascot breaks down the door painted in their colors, and then afterwards we all go outside and light fire to the wood from the door. Its really fun, there was music, hot chocolate, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. And curfew was extended which is always a plus.”


AH is a current college student, and attended a new england preparatory boarding school for high school. 

“Well, I first heard about it from all of the older students freshman year leading up to what was supposed to be our first bonfire night. They all just said it was so much fun.

To me, it’s really just about school spirit and community. That entire week there are events going on that are super fun, which just encourage us to really like the school (which is sometimes hard when you’re constantly on the grind) and just get us in the mind set for the sports day.”


This is a celebration of community. It is a cyclical folk festival as it happens once a year in the Fall athletic season. It is really interesting to see miscellaneous events such as these at schools because they don’t have much to do with education, and instead are solely focused on interpersonal life and relationships. This event is also essentially a celebration of the athletes in the community, and their accomplishments. It is a notable pattern that many communities, regardless of original or main intent, always resort to celebration of athleticism. At jobs there are often recreational sports leagues and even countries play sports against each other. All typically culminating, with celebration. This is a phenomenon of folk all around the world, and it is interesting to see it on even such a small scale as an academic institution with a supposed focus on education.

Quinceanera Celebration

Informant Info:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Residence: Los Angeles 
  • Primary language: English and Spanish 


E.S said, “In my culture, once a young girl turns 15 they have a big party that could be considered a rite of passage, it’s called a Quinceanera.” This party is meant to symbolize the transition from a young girl to a woman. In the party there are multiple traditional processes that really resemble that of a wedding. As E.S explained, you start with mass at a church, then at the party you have the father daughter dance, the taking off of the shoes and into heels, etc. In some parties, they’re given this porcelain doll that represents or encapsulates their childhood, and at the end they have a surprise dance that’s very entertaining. The quinces in Mexico are somewhat different from the fact that as they move from the church to the reception, the whole group/family parade through the street with a live mariachi to the venue. Sometimes the quinceanera is in a carriage or on a horse. The invite is also not very exclusive as the whole community is invited. E.S recalls one time she attended a Quince, “I once went to a quince in Mexico where we didn’t know anyone, we were complete strangers and they still fed us and treated us like family.” The party allows for community bonding and the celebration of womanhood!


I deeply resonated with E.S’s relation to Quinceaneras because it is a well known tradition and celebration in my culture as well. Quinceaneras are indeed a rite of passage because the whole purpose of the celebration is to acknowledge the young girl’s transition from that into womanhood. Since I was a child, I attended various Quinceaneras from family members and acquaintances. I agree with E.S in the fact that the celebration is pretty welcoming to everyone, even if you aren’t directly related to the young girl being celebrated. I also vividly remember the surprise dances at these Quinceaneras, and they are indeed one of the parts of the celebration everyone looks forward to seeing the most. The Quinceanera does the surprise dance with her Corte de Honor, which consists of Chambelanes and Damas. The father and daughter dance is very special, and it usually makes a lot of people very emotional. While this celebration is very fun, it is also deeply sentimental for everyone because the now young woman is no longer a little girl.