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Superstitions, Old Wives Tales, and Tradition 2

Updated on October 10, 2017
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise homeschooled her 4 children and has stories. She provided art lessons for many children in the homeschool community for many years.

Unlucky to see the bride before the wedding

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Superstitions or Traditions

Over the years I have encountered a lot of superstitions, most of which are laughable. My mother raised me to think that superstition was nonsense, old wives tales, and hogwash. Yet at the same time my mother taught me to say “Bless You” when sneezing, not walk under ladders, throw salt over my shoulder, and knock on wood. I came to think that these were traditions and not really superstitions. I mean who knows, right?

I have a feeling most people follow some tradition or another, passed down through the generations without much thought. We just do as we are told and mimic what we see our elders doing. So why did I bother wearing something old and new and borrowed and blue at my wedding? Why was it important not to see the groom on my wedding day? I didn’t know or care at the time. Tradition. I just did it.

Ladders, umbrellas, black cats, spilled salt, horse shoes, shooting stars, four-leaf clovers, coins in a fountain… the list goes on and on. Here are a few of the many superstitions I have heard and read about over the years. Have you heard of these too?

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Newborns

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Cats and Babies

Keep cats away from babies, because they “suck the life” from the child. This probably originated from an actual event when a cat was found over a dead child. Because cats love milk and babies often have milk breath, it makes sense that a cat would smell the baby’s breath, but that didn’t mean that the cat suffocated the baby. It could have made it hard for the baby to breathe if standing on his chest or simply been the victim of circumstances if found over a baby who had passed from SIDS

Chilly

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Your Grave

If you get a chill or sudden shudder, it means someone has just walked over your grave. I don’t think they know what causes you to shudder so this is as good an explanation as any.

Ears

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The itch

If your right ear itches, someone is speaking well of you. If your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you. What if both ears itch?

As much as I have known my sister talks about me behind my back, I would think my ears would be itching all the cotton-picking time.

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Sweet Feet

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Feet

If the bottom of your right foot itches, pack a bag because you are going to take a trip. And you thought it was just athlete’s foot! Fooled you.

Eyelash

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Eyelashes

If you find an eyelash, put it on the back of your hand and toss it over your shoulder. If the lash flies away your wish is granted. I’ve wished on stars and dandelion puffs but not usually eyelashes. How about you?

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Grey Hair

Pulling out a grey or white hair will cause 10 more to grow in its place. Obviously we will all go grey eventually whether we pulled a white hair out or not. However this didn’t prevent me in my 20’s and 30’s from pulling offending hairs out of my head. I couldn’t do that now however. I would be completely bald if I tried.

Thirteen

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The 13th

Do you believe 13 is an unlucky number?

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Trivia about 13

More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.

Many airports skip the 13th gate.

Airplanes have no 13th aisle.

Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.

Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.

On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is 12 and a half.

In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guest to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.

Many cities do not have a 13th Street or 13th Avenue

Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.

If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck. Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names. Luckily my name missed it by one.

Sad 13

Baby things

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Knitting

Knitting for children you may have in the future, but before you are pregnant, is bad luck. It may prevent one from getting pregnant, or bring ill health to the baby. Unfortunately I expected my daughter would get pregnant right after her marriage and I began knitting baby things. Two years went by and she was very worried that it wouldn’t happen for her at all. She called many times crying on my shoulder that God must not love her anymore. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I had been knitting and caused the whole problem. Anyway, God is good, and she is now expecting. Time to get back to knitting.

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Knit Hair

If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you. I always found it difficult NOT to knit my hairs into a garment. They always seem to be falling out and since yarn is made from twisted hair, it was more than easy to get caught up in the project unintentionally.

Crazy Knitter

Socks

Don’t knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he’ll walk away from you.

You may not know this or if you are a knitter you do, but knitting socks is a very complex project times two (you have to make two of them for most people). A boyfriend would have to put a ring on my finger for me to want to even tackle socks for him… that’s all I have to say about that.

Origins

Friend of Farmers

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Lady bugs

It is bad luck to kill a ladybug. This makes sense to me as a ladybug and its larva can consume thousands of pests (bugs bad for crops) in its lifetime.

Broken Mirror

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Mirrors

There are so many superstitions about mirrors, most I’ve heard a dozen times before, like breaking a mirror bringing you 7 years bad luck. But this one is new to me: A mirror should be covered during a thunderstorm because it attracts lightning.

Smart Pencils

Smart Pencils

If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers. If only I had known.

Ladder

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Ladders

Don’t forget the ladder superstitions. Walking under one could be dangerous but it was also believed that the triangle formed represented the Trinity and walking through it breaks the symbol and causes bad luck. I don’t walk under ladders, it just seems the smart thing to avoid.

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Lastly

There are so many more that just can’t be all listed here. Once you start digging for superstitions, you find that our lives are literally filled with them, knock on wood. I think the most of them are just traditions that come and go but that we don’t often question. What do you think?

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Superstitious comments welcomed

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Aladdins Cave,

      Wow, thank you so much. I really appreciate the comment and the follow.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 

      3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Great Hub and thumbs up

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

      PS

      Also followed you Twitter

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      ladyguitarpicker,

      Okay, you are one brave exciting lady! More power to ya.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Wonderful hub, and I love walking under ladders, petting black cats, and Friday the 13th.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      kj force,

      I don't know if that will make a good day for you but it should be interesting! I wish you well... break a leg and all that. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Rachel L Alba,

      That makes perfect sense... which this superstition doesn't. I always wondered what that was about. Are we talking about some future person stoping on your grave? In which case what would I care since I'm dead? Logic and superstitions don't really go together.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Larry Rankin,

      Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to visit and comment. I appreciate it so much.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      RoadMonkey,

      That's funny. He figured it wasn't bad luck if he didn't know about it? I guess that's one way to deal with a phobia.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 

      3 years ago from Florida

      PAINTDRIPS....loved the write..found very interesting and informative....

      my day appears to be unexciting..think I will go walk under a ladder holding my black cat..and a broken mirror...haha,,thanks for the smile...

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      That was interesting and funny. I never heard of some of them but the one about a chill when someone walks over your grave made me laugh. If you have a grave, then you are dead. Can you get a chill if you are dead? lol Or, did I interpret that wrong? Voted up..

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great stuff!

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      3 years ago

      I used to have a work colleague who hated Friday the 13th. He would deliberately not check the date, ever, during the month so he didn't know what date it was and heaven help anyone who reminded him of the date when it was Friday the 13th! Very funny hub.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      WillStarr,

      Thank you for that little bit of fun trivia. I didn't remember that.

      But no, I don't believe in superstitions either, haha.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Akriti Mattu,

      Thank you so much for your visit and comment.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The Apollo 13 mission was suddenly put in peril after an oxygen tank exploded...on April 13th!

      But no, I don't believe in superstitions.

      A fun Hub, Denise!

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 

      3 years ago from Shimla, India

      Excellent post :)

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