Hands up who is superstitious!
Now those of you who didn’t put your hands up, are you sure you’re not?
I follow superstitions, but I’m not sure is it is because I actually believe something bad is going to happen to me if I don’t, or if it’s just because my Mum, being a strange Westo (she was born in Devon), has always spoken about different ones and therefore they are just a part of who I am.
I ponder this point today, as I am once again in a striping mood. No, not that kind of stripping, but wallpaper, in the bathroom. Our bathroom is rather small and dark, so I had put up random mirrors to give the illusion of more space and light – listen to me going all Laurence Llwellyn-Bowen on you! They were just stuck up with sticky pads. When I put them up I was more than little worried about the chances of them staying up on the wall, but there they have stayed for a good few years. Today though was the day to try to remove them. Well, all I can say is the manufacturer of these sticky pads could teach other makers a thing or two as they did not want to remove themselves. I tried wetting them, them realised that having been in the bathroom and not fallen off, they must be water-resistant. I then gently prized down behind the mirror to loosen then. One mirror, 4 stick pads, how could it defeat me? I got the first one off. Very proudly, I started work on the next, and bang, shattered mirror, and this happened on 2 more. So, in total 3 broken mirrors.
Or put it another way, 21 years bad luck! Or is it? This is where I find superstitions interesting. Where different people know different versions of the same thing. Some people say breaking a mirror is what brings bad luck, but others say looking into a broken mirror is bad luck. So, I hedged my bets, I couldn’t do anything about the fact I had broken them, but I wasn’t going to look in them just to be on the safe side!
I think I believe we make our own luck, and if we believe something bad is going to happen, then sure enough, we will find a way of making sure it does.
Having said that here are a few superstitions that I foolishly or otherwise do.
Greeting a magpie. A lone magpie is believed to be unlucky, so it has to be greeted like an old friend. I always say “Good morning Mr Magpie, how’s the wife and family?” I have however heard of others that salute them as a mark of respect. But, when you see two or more magpies, it means good luck.
Walking under ladders. Now, superstition or not, is it really sensible to walk under a ladder? If there is someone on it, then you walking under, could distract them and either they fall or drop something on you, so it’s just common sense not to do it! But, having said that, is it sensible to step out into a road, rather than walk under the ladder? It’s a time to use our little grey cells on this one I think!
Touching Wood for luck. I do this one a lot! If I say something that is tempting fate then I always look for wood to pat. How doing this can change anything, I have no idea, but that doesn’t stop me doing it!
Cats, are full of superstitions from what I know but there seems to be some argument about if they are good or bad luck. I suppose that really depends on if you are a cat person or not! I was led to believe that having a black cat cross your path was lucky, and so I am always pleased to see one. On the walk up to school we pass one most days, and I agree in the luck of dropping the boys off for a few hours!!!!!
White Rabbits. On the first of the month, we always say rabbits three times and knock on wood. Something I can always remember doing, and I must say, the boys already do this one without question!
Catching leaves in October. If you catch a falling leaf and keep it in your pocket, it will bring good luck in the coming year. I have also heard a version of this that says the luck is accumulative, and the more leaves you catch the luckier you will be. When we were little, we would have great fun running around in the woods desperately trying to catch one, and only being lucky on a few occasions.
This one is one that makes me gasp with horror if I see it, and that is shoes on the table. Not only is this totally unhygienic, but it is meant to bring bad luck. Maybe the bad luck comes from a transfer of germs! I actually get quite panicky if I see this happen!
Salt. A substance we take for granted, but spill it, and the devil is at work, so to stop him, you throw a pinch over your shoulder to blind him. I have thrown a lot of salt in my time! It is also meant to be bad luck to hand salt to someone. If at the meal table someone asks for the salt, never directly hand it to them, instead, place it down close to them so they can then pick it up.
Now, I do not know the origins of these superstitions, and I am not trying to educate you in that, to be honest if that is of any interest to you, then I am sure you will look it up at a place more accurate than I could ever be. I have shared some of the ridiculous things that are just common place in my every life that has no sense in a modern world. However, for years people have believed these things, and it would be disrespectful to them not to keep traditions going.
Touch wood, I’ve covered my bases there!
I would be really interested in hearing any family superstitions anyone else does as I think it’s quite interesting.
In the mean time though, I have to prepare myself for doom and gloom until 2034!