Superstitions, Old Wives Tales, and Tradition 2
Unlucky to see the bride before the wedding
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Do you believe 13 is an unlucky number?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Friend of Farmers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?