A friend of mine from college recently posted a note about visiting a friend of hers. When she was getting ready to leave, she started to leave through a different door than the one she entered, and her friend stopped her. Apparently, there is this old superstition about leaving through the same door you entered. If you don’t, it will bring bad luck. After reading this, it got me to thinking about all the different superstitions I’ve heard during my life. If you know anything about my grandmother, I’m sure you know I’ve heard some doozies.
While it’s entertaining to think about some of these superstitions and what they mean, one sometimes has to wonder where and why they originated. Most of us would readily deny we are superstitious or place any belief in their meanings. How many of us, however, have found ourselves adhering to one or more superstitious activities, albeit unconsciously?
I’m sure we’ve all heard about breaking a mirror. What does it bring you? Seven years bad luck. Friday the 13th? Unlucky as well. Stepping on a crack has been instilled in us from an early age as a sure-fire way to break your mother’s back. Touching or knocking on wood is supposed to cause whatever you say to be true.
Where in the world did we ever get these ideas? Some of them date back a thousand years, maybe more, as a way for us to explain things that happen to us and those around us. Most rely more on supernatural causality instead of natural science. Even so, it’s amusing to sometimes talk about them and what they actually mean.
My grandmother, for instance, has always been very superstitious. Many of hers revolve around death. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard her say, “If a rooster crows between sunset and dark, you’ll hear about a death within three days.” She’s also said, “If a bird flies through the window, someone will die.” Not to give any weight to her superstitions, however, I do know that every time she’s mentioned she heard a rooster crow during the aforementioned time, someone we know would actually die within the allotted time. Eerie, huh?
In any case, I’ve always heard that you should never take a broom with you when you move, or it would bring bad luck into your new house. Not to say that I’m superstitious, but looking back, I’ve noticed when I would move, I would always leave the old broom behind and buy a new one. Subconsciously, am I observing a certain superstition without realizing it? I prefer to think I just wanted a new broom, but I’ll let you decide.
So as I think about various superstitions we’ve heard during our life, I’ve some up with a list of those I can remember:
- If a candle lighted as part of a ceremony blows out, it is a sign that evil spirits are nearby.
- Keep cats away from babies because they “suck the breath” from the child.
- Hang a horseshoe over your door for good luck.
- It’s bad luck to walk under a ladder
- It’s bad luck to open an umbrella inside.
- The number 13 is unlucky (interesting to note: how many times have you been on a 13th floor in a building, seen a room number 13, etc?)
- It’s bad luck to see your face in a mirror by candlelight.
- If a black cat crosses your path, it will bring bad luck.
- It’s bad luck to speak ill of the dead.
- It’s bad luck to see an owl during the daylight.
So in the interest of conversation, how many others can you think of? And remember, it’s bad luck not to leave a reply! 😉