July 10, 2010

Very Superstitious...!

What are some of those strange things people do or don’t do and really can’t always explain why? Superstitions and their origins can be quite interesting...


Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" live on Sesame Street

23 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 10, 2010

    Don't toast with water and don't shake hands under the doorway. Don't put a hat on the bed...And 10,000 others!

    The hat on the bed's origin is from the time when doctors made house calls, if someone was really sick they wouldn't stop in the entrance but go straight to the bedroom and put their hat on the bed -- i.e. bad news.
    I have vague notions of what the other superstitions come from but they can usually be traced to a reason!

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  2. • My grandfather insisted that we must leave out of the same door in which we came in, lest we bring on some awful bad luck.

    • In many places around the world it’s bad luck or even rude to shake with your left hand; however in West Africa you extend your left hand to say goodbye if you expect never to see the person again.

    • I’ve heard since I was a kid if you throw out your hair or nail clippings and a bird makes its nest out of them, you will surely go crazy.

    • Step on a crack, break your mother's back (poor Mom!)

    Well, let’s hear some of yours:

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  3. Let's see if I can put this delicately: In the Greek Orthodox 'tradition', there are some (Mama) who insisted that young ladies are not to take the Eucharist (Lord's Supper, ie wine and crackers) if she is 'in the female' way that particular day (something about being 'clean')...

    and that is ONE reason I am a very contented PROTESTANT!!!


    Mama also had some strange notion that a young woman should not wash her hair during that time as well.

    I grew up obsessively washing my hair daily thoroughout my teens and 20s and 30s...(even now 3 x per week!

    Sorry mom...I guess it didn't stick!

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  4. When leaving the house I never believe that my garage door has closed. I make at least one trip back to the house to check. When friends pick me up they always stop and make me see that the door is down and refuse to return to the house to check.

    My mom would never let us "split a pole." Anyone who is with me cannot do it either. I follow her rule.

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  5. My husband, who is otherwise not particularly superstitious, will not walk under anything that forms a triangle with the ground: a ladder, a wire and pole, etc. I'm not sure where that one stems from.

    When we lived in NYC, I was initially so startled by rats that the sight of them would throw me entirely off-course. I decided one day to make them "lucky." I still look for them in urban rat-friendly settings and when I see one - I make a wish.

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  6. i don't know if i am so much superstitious as just cautious about everything ... i'm always prepared for the worst to happen ... so maybe i'm superstitious about everything?

    i guess there's the hardcore ones ... like a broken mirror and walking under ladders which do give me pause ... but i like black kitties?

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  7. Stepping over a baby will cause the child to be short.

    In order to have a great year, one must have black eyed peas, collard greens and pork. I believe the peas are for luck, the greens for money and the pork...hell I don't know what the pork is for. Oh my bad, not pork, but chittlings!!!

    Dream of fish and someone you love is pregnant.... See More

    Itching palm is a sign of money coming your way.

    Itching butt is a sign that someone is cursing you.

    Itching head is a sign that your head is itching.

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  8. AnonymousJuly 11, 2010

    West Indians are superstitious about EVERYthing, so I could be here all day, but I'll limit.

    Don't put your purse on the floor, your money will run away.

    Always direct your sweeping out of a room, never in -- good luck vs. bad.

    NEVER split a pole, a railing, a fence, a car, or anything -- lest you end up split from that person forever.

    Don't buy a home that's being sold because of the owner's demise or divorce (or any other sad circumstance). Of course, if you have the house duly "cleansed" and "blessed" you can possibly live there without suffering the same fates. Although something tells me death will come eventually.

    Another one in the realm of fixes: Spilled salt, bad luck. Toss some of it over your shoulder, instantly good!

    Finally, to ensure a truly happy new year, you MUST eat greens, peas and rice, and pigs feet on New Year's Eve. I think they represent money, health and luck in that order, although the pig was clearly unlucky. And, for the record, I've never eaten a pig's foot. Loin, bacon, chops -- those'll have to do. As for my luck? Pretty damn good so far.

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  9. Like the poster above, I grew up in a very superstitious culture. I think I could write a book about the supersticions of the displaced-Ozark culture that was my childhood.

    I'll write about a few them.

    Many of the supersticions were about marriage and love.

    For example, if someone is sweeping and you're just sitting down (who could be that lazy?) and you just raise up your feet to let the person sweep: well, you'll never get married.

    If you're greedy and take the last piece of anything to eat (the last cookie, the last biscuit, the last piece of pie, the last chicken leg): well, you'll never get married. I think this one had to do with saving some food for grown people!

    If you pull up a plant of the coneflower (now well known around the country, as it's now grown in gardens--look up Echinacea purpurea) and throw it on the ground, thinking about someone you hope will love you, you'll know if they do: the plant will grow and thrive if the person loves you; it will die if the person doesn't. (As an alternative, the parasite that we called "golden thread", also known as dodder, widowwort, or--more correctly--as Cuscuta, can be used the same way).

    Harris mentioned hair and nail clippings. Our childhood fear wasn't birds, but anything or anyone getting ahold of these. When I was a child, nail and hair clippings were carefully collected and burned. I still feel a bit odd throwing nail clippings away, but I do it anyway.

    We didn't even think of it as superstitious to plan gardens and animal husbandry by the signs of the moon. My mother does this still. I even check with the Farmer's Almanac if I'm going to have major dental work done, or something like that (you want a "dry" sign, to discourage bleeding).

    In those feelings mentioned, we believe all those, plus that if your nose itched, you'd be having visitors.

    I know that in the time of my great-grandparents and earlier, many people--especially babies--died at home. And we had many, many things that were forbidden, lest they cause someone to die in the house in the same year. Open an umbrella in the house: someone will die in that house. You have to stop all the clocks in a house when a person dies there (or in the family) until the person is buried, lest yet another person die. If you bring lightning bugs in the house, someone will die. And, though not exactly related to that, in my family people sit with the dead until they are buried. Nowadays, they just stay awake at home, but they used to sit right with the dead person, keeping the corpse company.

    And the general bad luck things just went on forever. Many of them were things people don't have to worry much about any more, like yoking an ox and a horse together (but if the occasion arises, I'd avoid it, for a variety of reasons). Splitting a pole was terrible bad luck, as mentioned, but could be solved by each person quickly naming two things that always go together, like "salt and pepper" or "hugs and kisses" or "'taters and gravy".

    I think I'll stop here for now, but I've enjoyed thinking about my childhood.

    Oh, and my grandfather always believed that it was very good luck to *own* a black cat.

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  10. Since most of the ones I know are mentioned, I will add:

    Don't buy a man shoes, he will walk out of your life.

    Based on your situation, that may be good. lol

    I was also told not to perm my hair while I was on my cycle because my perm would not take. Not sure if this was true because I never did it. Not because of the superstitious but because I never needed one at that time.

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  11. I forgot to add:

    If you stand over a baby and they look up at you, you can cause them to become cross-eyed and if you tickle the little rascals you can cause them to stutter.

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  12. @Dale: those are great ones and so rich with tradition and such. But "taters and gravy"...now that cracks me up.

    @Kristin: Yea, my grandmother would always scream at me to stop tickling my brother Anthony when he was a baby lest he begin stuttering. Well, I did it anyway and now he's in his 30s with not a stutter in earshot. However, come to think of it, I was the stutterer up until my high school years...hmmm!

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  13. AnonymousJuly 11, 2010

    What about the infamous: don't 'cross your eyes because they will stay that way'? Or the similar, "Don't make that face, it'll freeze that way'

    Are those threats superstitions?

    Or just 'goofy' mom threats?!

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  14. I have just a few to add to the bunch related New Years day:

    Two which supposedly lead to the death of a family member sometime during the new year - washing and sweeping. I still don't wash or sweep on the 1st day of a new year.

    For luck, in addition to eating black eyed peas, the first person to walk through your front door should be a male who is not a relative.

    And no cleaning because you'll end up spending the year cleaning your house. Hmmmmm.

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  15. I don't have any superstitions to add but an oddity. A few years ago I had convinced myself that I could not hit even numbered golf clubs. As such, I decided to only play my odd numbered golf clubs. While I carried the even clubs in my bag, I refused to hit them. This lasted several years until I mentioned it to a friend one day and he thought it was the funniest (and most absurd) thing he'd ever heard. Recognizing the absurdity of my ways, I went back to playing my even clubs (although I still don't hit them well).

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  16. AnonymousJuly 14, 2010

    When playing spades, never bid for 9 books. It's bad luck. You'll either make less books than you plan or too many (sometimes the rules consist of 3 overs and you stuck). It's best to bid for 8 or go bubble.

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  17. if you sweep a womans feet she'll never get married...

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  18. AnonymousJuly 16, 2010

    ...so THAT'S why I never got married!

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  19. ...so THAT'S why I never got married!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't have any superstitions to add but an oddity. A few years ago I had convinced myself that I could not hit even numbered golf clubs. As such, I decided to only play my odd numbered golf clubs. While I carried the even clubs in my bag, I refused to hit them. This lasted several years until I mentioned it to a friend one day and he thought it was the funniest (and most absurd) thing he'd ever heard. Recognizing the absurdity of my ways, I went back to playing my even clubs (although I still don't hit them well).

    ReplyDelete
  21. i don't know if i am so much superstitious as just cautious about everything ... i'm always prepared for the worst to happen ... so maybe i'm superstitious about everything?

    i guess there's the hardcore ones ... like a broken mirror and walking under ladders which do give me pause ... but i like black kitties?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Don't toast with water and don't shake hands under the doorway. Don't put a hat on the bed...And 10,000 others!

    The hat on the bed's origin is from the time when doctors made house calls, if someone was really sick they wouldn't stop in the entrance but go straight to the bedroom and put their hat on the bed -- i.e. bad news.
    I have vague notions of what the other superstitions come from but they can usually be traced to a reason!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

So, what's your take on this? Oh c'mon, share a little!