Cultural Superstitions

From the Northern Marianas Islands, to South Korea, to the Philippines, to Washington State, superstitions from different cultures have existed for centuries.

The Northern Marianas Islands are a chain of islands in which the people there strongly believe in the supernatural, also known as the belief that our ancestors still roam our islands. Having been born on the island of Saipan, one of the islands from the Northern Marianas Islands; there are a variety of superstitions that dictate the way they live their lives.  when a man’s wife is pregnant, he is not allowed to hunt or kill an animal. If the husband does kill an animal, the baby’s cry will be that animals cry when it was killed. Another superstition is when in the jungle of the islands, and a person needs to ‘take a leak,’ they must ask permission from their grandparents in Chamorro; ‘Guelo yan Guela,’ otherwise the taotaomonas (ancestors) will make you sick.  Asking permission from your grandparents is a way to ask for protection or to watch over you.

In South Korea, their culture has their own superstitions and beliefs that guide the way the live. Esther Kang, a junior from Black Hills High School, was willing to be interviewed on her culture’s beliefs. Having a significant other, it’s said that giving them “…a chicken wing will lead to them  to ‘fly away,’” otherwise known as cheat on them. Another superstition is buying your “…girlfriend shoes will lead to her leaving you in those shoes.” However, some superstitions can go as far to sleep paralysis, in which seeing “…dark figures and creepy distorted beings… is related  to being ‘choked’ or ‘possessed’ by a spirit…” Although Esther Kang doesn’t believe in superstitions herself, she does however, take precautions around any of the things above.

The Philippines is comprised of more than 7,000 islands and is no exception to having its own cultural superstitions. Ellysa Wood, senior at V. Sue Cleveland High School, believes in her culture’s superstitions because they give her “…a peace of mind.” Wood spoke of one superstition she follows, “when someone leaves your house and you’re still eating, you have to turn your plate in a full circle so that they won’t get into an accident.” However, there are also some superstitions she remains skeptical about. For example, when a person is single, they’re not supposed to sing while cooking because when they marry, it won’t be a good marriage and they will become unhappy. When asked about this particular superstition, Wood said she doesn’t “…believe in this one because you should always put yourself in situations that make yourself happy, and if it’s cooking and singing while you’re single then it’s okay.”

Different cultures bring out different perspectives to a person that has little to no knowledge of their beliefs and traditions. It also gives the opportunity to people having grown up into a culture that people aren’t familiar with, to grow up with another view of the world.

by Janae Attao



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