Do you remember when you were a kid and you used to pluck dandelions from your backyard and brush them underneath your chin to see if you were in love? Or when you picked the petals off of a flower, one by one, until you finally get to the last, just to see if he loves you, even though there really isn’t a he in your life that you’re interested in?
Why did we do that when we were younger? Did we really have someone that we were genuinely interested in that early in our lives? Or were we simply intrigued by the mystery of love? Was it just another epic adventure for us, another empty world full of endless possibilities?
A better question is, how did we think to do such a thing? Could we say it was childish imagination if most children did it? Of course, we can. But where did it originate, why is it still around, and how did it grow in children’s minds?
It’s been said that He Loves You, He Loves You Not originated from France, though no one’s really had any physical evidence of this, while others have said that it originates from Germany because it had the earliest recordings of it from a songbook written by Clara Hätzlerin in 1471, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the phrase and ‘tradition’ was born in Germany. It may be like Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a written account of all the stories that were heard by the Grimm’s brothers, the stories themselves having origins or more various versions in other countries. For example, Cinderella has been ‘proved’ to have originated in China, but has different versions in each country and even with each person.
So, where am I going with this?
Isn’t it odd that all these phrases, traditions, and stories have been around for years, that each culture has their own version of them, and that no one knows for certain where they came from?
And, at what point does it enter a child’s mind? Is it true that television teaches these traditions to children just as they teach them to say unpleasant words? Is it word of mouth as it used to be in the olden days? Were they taught by other children or by their own parents? How is it that we know the story of Cinderella without ever having heard it?
I feel like it has to do with our culture, with how we were raised. As we grow up, we are taught to believe in certain things, act a certain way, and to strive for a certain goal. It originates from birth, maybe even in the womb—how we should act when we are in the world. Perhaps at some point, what we learn catches up to us, even at the age of four. We learned from our parents to take every advantage our childhood gives us: Our imagination, our innocence, and our curiosity. Is this what keeps these traditions alive?
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