Thursday 18 November 2021

the rainbow taboo

Being disabused of believing that one’s own superstitious inheritance is not universal—like the particularly narrow-held thought that opening up an umbrella indoors causes bad luck, is a rare privilege and can prove particularly exciting if it causes one to completely shift one’s perspective and so especially  liked learning of one Westerner’s singular, impressing experience that turned into a project to document the over one hundred cultural traditions that have a proscription of some sort against rainbows—particularly pointing at them. I think we’re well over the idea it symbolises God’s covenant not to destroy the Earth with a flood ever again but the meteorological phenomenon is strangely ellusive and liminal, present and bold in the sky but something that one cannot reach or get closer to, and is regarded with awe and respect and pointing would be a bit rude or familiar. Some dread malady who be visited on the offending finger, though that curse could be placated by sticking one’s finger in one’s navel. We wonder how with its adoption as a symbol of hope during periods of lockdown, rainbows in windows were received by communities who were raised with these prohibitions.