CINQUERA, El Salvador- “Did you see why they did that?”
“Did you see that they took the mirror off the wall because of the lightning?”
It was true, as soon as lightning struck and the rains began pouring down all the mirrors in the little house in rural El Salvador were removed from the walls and placed face down upon nearby chairs.
The people here say that mirrors attract lightning. To make them impotent, you must remove them from the walls.
My cousin was giving me another lesson in the nuances of Salvadoran culture. I looked at him doubtfully.
I looked over to one of the girls who grew up in the house, “Is this true?”
“Siiiiii,” she replied as she ran to remove another mirror.
I continued on my skeptical path. “Have you ever known of a house that has ever gotten hit by lightning because the people did not take down the mirrors?”
The girl thought for a moment. “No,” she said, “I do this because my mother always told me to take down the mirrors whenever it rains.”
“Has your mother ever known of a house that got hit by lightning because the people did not take down the mirrors?”
I am unsure what I was trying to get at.
“I don’t know,” the girl admitted, “but I don’t think so.”
“Is this because people always remove the mirrors when it rains so no houses ever have mirrors up to be hit?”
We called it a draw.
Culture, tradition does not need to make sense, it does not need to be provable to be pertinent. The patterns of culture, tradition are perhaps the forces of human action that are passed down through the ages to give us a feeling of security, comfort, in circumstances in which we have no control. The feeling of “at least doing something” calms the nerves of the human animal.
No questions are asked. It is the feeling of security rather than the logic that lends importance to such traditions.
So in El Salvador people take mirrors off the wall when it rains to prevent lightning from hitting their homes.
What else can you do?
Take Mirror Off Wall During Lightning Storm
What similar traditions like this do you practice in your culture? What actions do you take without questioning just because your family taught you them? Please comment below.