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I never heard of anything like that. I think some of this manas were and are used to instil fear in people and are passed down. Its funny now that I read this because I remember them as a kid , which probably is why fear for other things in life were easy to adapt to when I got older. Dalyla Jordan I remebember a lot of superstitions i was told growing up as a kid, like dont split the pole or like you said dont step on the cracks of side walks.

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I have always had a thing against people who had silly superstitions like splitting a pole gives you bad luck or, if you break a mirror you'll have bad luck but I was one of those kids who also tried to avoid stepping on a crack or a line when walking. I didn't realize until later I was once superstitious as well and outgrew it because I started to believe your luck is only what you make it.

My name is Tonii Saffore. I am very familiar with the superstition, "If you step on a crack you will break your moms back". When we were young we even made a song out of it to jump rope to it. I am also familiar with the polish cultures superstition about the purse being on the ground. I would have thought that was an American superstition, my mom told me that one before and it actually makes sense. Comments and questions are welcome. Please remember that this blog is public and anyone, including your professor, your parents, your employer, and maybe even your grandmother, can and will read whatever you post.

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Growing up in American culture I vividly remember being instructed by my peers not to step on cracks in sidewalks or I would fate my mother to break her back. I, like many American children, believed this superstition because we had no reason not to, but as we grew older and gained more life experience we realized that it was not true and we walked normally, no longer avoiding cracks in the sidewalks as we went.

But why do our superfluous fears drawn from our superstitions exist? Put simply, mana is the idea that mystical forces are imbued into specific people, animals, plants, or objects, and these mystical forces provide others who come in contact with the mana imbued person, animal, plant, or object with either good or bad luck.


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Taboos exist to prohibit people from performing acts that will cause them bad luck, which is why it is associated with mana. Superstitions are a great source of cultural understandings and applications of mana and taboo. Elements of both exist in the story mentioned above. Taboo exists, as well, as the act of stepping on the crack is prohibited by the superstition.

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Some cultural superstitions only provide insight into mana. In the West Indies individuals who have undergone a very terrible event, such as an arrest, are instructed to burn the clothing they wore after the end of the event to avoid further bad luck Figure 1 , and in India individuals, after leaving a funeral, must bathe their bodies and clothing prior to entering the home. All of these are examples of mana because of the acts that must be completed by the individual for the supernatural force to take effect.

Other cultures also have superstitions that match their cultural values and beliefs, which tie back to mana and taboo. For example, in German culture it is considered bad luck to wish someone good luck or a happy birthday prior to the day of the event Figure 2. In this way mana is associated with the well wishes as an individual can say something that may affect the outcome of the event. To ensure the outcome is not affected negatively the act of providing well wishes early is prohibited.

In Polish culture women are discouraged from leaving their purses on the floor for it is believed that by doing so they will lose money. This superstition is similar to the one in Russia that instructs individuals not to leave empty bottles on tables or monetary losses will occur Figure 3. Mana is tied to the decision on where purses and bottles are placed, and the taboo encourages them not to place them on specific surfaces.

If we delved more deeply into these cultural superstitions we would learn more about the cultural values and beliefs that exist in each culture.


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The concepts of mana and taboo are easily derived from this quick analysis. So next time you hear someone say that he or she can or cannot do something due to a specific superstition you can explain to them whether it is due mana or taboo. Gezon, L. In Culture 2nd ed. A special thanks goes to contributors who shared stories of their culture's superstitions.

An extra special thanks goes to my mother who inspired this post and will never let me forget to never wish her an early birthday-ever again. Posted by Dr. Labels: For Fun , Sociocultural Anthropology.

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Kevin Izykowski April 30, at PM. Charlie Goggin May 1, at PM. Anonymous May 2, at AM. Riley Richardson May 3, at PM. Aaliyah Caldwell November 28, at AM. Delmar Whitley November 29, at PM. Roth, like the other soldiers, realizes that he or one of his comrades could be killed any minute. Like Hennessey or Hearn, death is a gunshot away.

A larger theme, power, is best exemplified through General Cummings himself. They sleep in larger staterooms while the soldiers share small rooms and are jammed into cots. This power system is reinforced within the missions themselves. After Hearn dies, Croft takes over leading the platoon up the mountain.

While the other soldiers clearly want to stop and give up, they continue hiking the mountain simply because their authority figure, Croft, demands that they not give up. Thus, this is another instance where the undemocratic nature of the Army is apparent. Misogyny also occurs within the novel.