I confess that I hate to love superstitions. I know. Its very un PC of me. Very unscientific. But its that small ethnic part of me that I simply cannot get rid of.
I believe that if my ears are burning, then someone is talking about me. I still haven’t made my mind up about whether the left ear means good or bad. And I really don’t know what to do when both are burning. Maybe someone is bagging me out and someone else is defending me?
I won’t walk under ladders. For the very practical reason of not wanting something dropped on my head if nothing else.
I do wear new knickers on New Years day. I don’t know why exactly other than my grandma said so and it’s a good excuse to buy new knickers.
The needle trick has always worked for me. That is, you thread a needle with a piece of cotton and hold it above a woman’s palm. Each time she closes her palm and opens it you lift the needle steadily and it will predict the number and sex of her children (including ones that don’t survive). The needle will stop eerily dead at the end of the list of children. Straight line for boy, circle for a girl.
The itchy palm thing has also worked for me. Right palm itchy, money coming to you, left palm itchy, money unexpectedly going out.
I always put money (like a dollar or two) in a wallet if I buy one for someone as a present, so that their wallet will always have money.
If I see a penny (or indeed any kind of coin) I will pick it up.
I do knock on wood when I’m talking about something I consider good fortune.
If an eyelash falls out, put it on the back of the hand, make a wish and throw it over your shoulder. If it flies off the hand the wish will be granted. Technically, I don’t actually believe in this one, but I do do it. Go figure.
I don’t break mirrors. Haven’t yet and (knock on wood) I won’t.
However, I don’t believe every silly superstition out there. Two things that I definitely don’t believe in-
Black cats being bad luck- I like black cats. Actually, I like cats of all kinds.
The fear of the number 13.
Some of them are hilarious. For example-
If you go to the bathroom in the night with no clothes on, insects will fall on you. (er, really?)
Dropping a pair of scissors is said to warn that a lover is unfaithful. (too bad if you are just clumsy)
To cut bread in an uneven manner is a sign that you have been telling lies. (or that you are really bad with a knife)
If a girl loses a garter, a proposal of marriage at an early date is foretold. (probably because any girl looking for her garter on the street is bound to attract male attention. What a shame we don’t wear garters these days)
Lightning will never strike a person when he is asleep, nor will it visit a house in which a fire is burning. (this one just makes me wonder how on earth they discovered this.)
Women should not whistle, for it encourages evil spirits to visit them. (I think this one was invented by men who didn’t want women to be better at whistling than they were)
It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match. (Oh! I know how this one started! This was a World War I story The Diggers discovered that in the dark, keeping a match lit for long enough to light 3 cigarettes was long enough for the enemy to see them and sight them across the trenches, then shoot them. Hence 3 cigarettes became unlucky- due to too many people getting shot)
Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house. (there must be more murder in the rainy season)
Salty soup is a sign that the cook is in love. (Or ethnic)
A wish will come true if you make it while burning onions (aha! Now I know!)
Lettuce is believed to have magical and healing properties, including the power to arouse love and counteract the effects of wine. (I have got to stop feeding my kid salads)
When you cross a railroad track you need to touch a screw so you won’t get pregnant. (ok, I confess, I really want to know how this one started.)
In defence of superstitions, they made sense at a time when people had no other answers. Way back when people asked their parents and grandparents “why…” these were the answers they got. I think they are wonderful, hilarious and worth preserving as part of our links to our past. So long as we don’t become crippled by them then what’s the harm?
What are your superstitions?