The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as DD. I am marked as DG.
DD: “So it’s a little bit of folklore about this necklace, which is actually a folk object of mine. And, um, so in Vietnamese families there is a tradition of the…groom’s parents giving a gift to the bride, um, right before the wedding… And so this necklace is what my dad’s mom gave to my mom to commemorate their, um, wedding, and …. I, my mom never really wore it and it was kind of just put away because my mom just kind of has a lot of old jewelry she never wore. And I was looking through some of our old stuff because we were moving out my senior year after my grandma passed away, and my mom found it and asked if I wanted to keep it to, you know, remember my grandmother. And I remember–you know I haven’t taken it off, except maybe when im competing, or when I’m, like, going anywhere I might lose it. It…feels…well, like, similar to when you wear something and you don’t take it off, it feels weird. So, um, whenever I’m not wearing the necklace I feel myself reaching for my neck to go touch it. It does feel…it’s a nice reminder that, um, well in my family we have this belief that our ancestors never…it’s not that they really leave us, there is an afterlife and my grandmother is kind of watching us and if I ask for help she’ll be there for us.”
The piece is a small blue rectangular jade necklace, wrapped in silver.
The conversation was recorded while sitting in the sun on a bench on a university campus. The giving of the gift was to be given before a marriage between two families, and the interviewee was given the necklace after the death of her grandmother.
The student was born and raised in Northern California. She is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. Although she was born in Northern California, her entire family is from Vietnam, and she is one of the first generation to be born in the United States.
What I like about this piece of folklore is that the giving of it was a folklore act, with the groom’s parents giving the bride a gift being a tradition. However, then the interviewee was later given the necklace to remember her grandmother. What I like then is that the necklace picks up a new form of folklore belief–the belief that her grandmother is able to watch over her, and then when she touches the necklace she knows that her grandmother is there. This then pulls upon two folklore categories: myths, with the afterlife, and superstition, with the belief that the touching of the item will speak to her grandmother, in a way. It’s a touching and warm folklore item.