Superstition - Supernatural Beliefs
Are you Superstitious?
Are you superstitious? If you think you aren’t, do you walk under ladders, cross you fingers or open umbrellas indoors? Do you believe in good or bad luck? Superstition can be beliefs that you were taught as a youngster, prophesies, luck, magic tricks, etc.
Superstition can be any strongly held belief that is not truly reality, but we still believe because of the way our brain is wired. It tends to add information that isn’t really there. According to Wikimedia a superstition is “the belief in a supernatural casualty-that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events-such as astrology, religion, almonds, witchcraft, etc.”
Top 10 Superstitions
The 10 most popular superstitions include:
- Itchy palms refer to someone who is greedy or a left itchy palm may mean that money is coming your way.
- Four leaf Clover’s are good luck.
- “God Bless You” - This is often said after someone sneezes as it is polite, but its origins are actually found during the bubonic plague from the erroneous belief that the soul would actually escape from the body and the heart would momentarily stop during the sneeze, so saying “God Bless You” actually helped the person return back to life.
- Breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck. I hope this isn’t true because I am certainly doomed if this is the case.
- Knock on wood - People say this when they make a hopeful statement, but the root of this ancient belief is that good spirits live in trees so perhaps being a tree hugger is a good thing.
- A Rabbit’s foot is lucky - this can also be traced back to the seventh century BC as the left hind foot of a rabbit that was shot would be taken for good luck. This is obviously not looking for the rabbit.
- Brooms have many superstitions associated with them and one is if you get a new home you want to sweep the dirt out of the new home with a new broom. If you sweep the dirt with an old broom you will be sweeping out any good luck. This doesn’t make much sense to me either.
- Never open an umbrella indoors - This superstition began when people used umbrellas for protection from the sun, so once a person had the umbrella open in the house, it was an insult to the Sun God.
- Wishing upon a star - Europeans believed that the gods occasionally peered down, and when this occurred the sky would move in a star would escape and fall down. In addition, Greeks believed that the stars were falling human souls. Any way you look at it I think wishing upon a star is not something I’ll be doing in the near future.
- 13 is an unlucky number - The number 13 is been associated with bad luck in many architects still refuse to design stairways with 13 steps, and there are even buildings without a 13th floor. There is actually a phobia that has been created to describe the fear of the number 13, which is called Triskaidekaphobia. I do not know when the superstition began.
Why Are We Superstitious?
In some religions they use snakes as part of their service, which must be linked to the superstition that something good will happen, but it is certainly freaks me out. Most superstitions are less dangerous. Some people throw salt over their shoulder if some is spilled.
My husband told me to never wash clothes on New Year’s Day or I would be washing someone out of my life in the coming year. While I don’t typically wash clothes on any holiday, this saying was one I had not heard. This is a saying he had heard as a child.
I have known people who carry around a rabbit’s foot or some other object that they think brings them good luck. Many people have a favorite number they always use. Some people wear the same jersey to play in some game of sports if they won a game previously. They consider it to be a "lucky shirt". There are numerous examples, obviously.
Rituals, habits and beliefs that control our actions are the basis for superstitions. We often don’t believe in these superstitions but follow them anyway as we have this attitude of “Why take a chance?” We all believe or learn from patterns. If you touch a hot a stove and burn your finger, you will probably not make that mistake twice. Learning from these happenings is what keeps us safe. This is not quite the same as a superstition, but the same learning principle applies.
It think without a doubt that most people probably have a few superstitions, but I doubt they rule the lives of the majority of the population.
The National Geographic station has been presenting shows about the brain, which are very interesting. There is one on Superstition, which you might find very interesting. Each of the Brain Game shows has been informative about the way the brain works. Superstitions are certainly an interesting topic, whether you watch the show or hopefully enjoyed my hub.
How does superstition play a role in your life?
© 2014 Pamela Oglesby