White Duck Feathers

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Norwegian
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Scotland
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/27/2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Norwegian, Old Norse, Old Scottish, Old English

Main Content:

I: Informant, M:Me, R: Roommate

I: My grandma has this thing, I think its duck, like very white duck feathers but if you find some of the ground she says its good luck and it’s like angel’s wings.

R: Awe

I: And if you find, and then like you have to do something like touch it or something that makes you get the good luck.

M: Awe that’s cute. Oh I like that. *Laughs* My mom would probably be like don’t touch the duck wings you’re gonna get… you’re gonna get rabies. 

I: Well like the little feathers that fall to the floor that fall off I think ducklings so they are very small and white .

R: Yeah, no yeah my mom would be like you are gonna get sick.

M: *Laughs* yeah

 I: Yeah I don’t touch feathers either 

Context: The informant’s grandmother taught him about this when he was like and told his touching white duck feathers (like the ones from ducklings) are good luck.

Analysis: One major thing that stuck on to me here was how this would never be able to be popularized in America in current day. Both the informant’s roommate and I, who have both lived in the U.S. for a substantial amount of time, agreed that our parents would explicitly tell us not to touch the feathers, for fear of disease or germs. While the informant admitted to no longer touching the feathers after learning about germs and such, it still provides quite the contrast between the US and Norway and the ways we view nature. US views nature as a force against us, while Norway views it more as a force with them. I will say that the rationale behind this with it being ‘angel’ wings kind of gave me a warm and good feeling inside until I remembered all the times my mother has told me, ‘Do not pet or touch any wild or stray animals’ every time I travel alone, especially to a foreign country and she emphasizes that even if the locals touch them, I am not to under any circumstance. I definitely understand where the worry and anxiety originates but it is just so contrasted to what my informant said that his roommate and I laughed about it.