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Are You Superstitious?
Do you throw salt over your shoulder, avoid walking under ladders, or leave something behind for good luck when you move house? Have you ever wished for a star? Superstitions have been passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial. Here are some you may recognize and some may be new to you. Some you will trust, some you will reject and some you can have fun with.
Apples: You’ve heard: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Or, if you peel an apple in a long strip and send out the letters of the alphabet as you do so, the letter that reaches you when the peel breaks is the first initial of a future lover! Or, if you cut an apple in two, you will get your love wish without cutting the seed.
Bat: If a bat comes near you, someone is trying to cast a spell or trick you. If someone hits you or breaks into your house, it is a sign of death or misfortune of a loved one.
Bees: Bees bring news and should be told of any deaths. If the bees are buzzing before the first spring, it means cooler weather is coming. If they stay in their hives, it means rain.
Bridge: If you make a wish while crossing the bridge, your wish will be fulfilled within one year. It is also considered good luck if you are walking under a bridge when a train passes overhead, especially if the whistle blows.
Broom: If you place a broom under someone’s feet, that person will be unlucky for a year. Place a broom behind the door to ward off witches. If a boy starts sweeping, you can expect visitors, and never step on a fallen broom – pick it up.
Birds: If a bird is flying in your house, it usually means good luck or good news. If the bird is black, bad news is on its way. Robbing a bird’s nest means suffering. If you hear an owl, expect news of death. Shooting a bird means you will have bad luck for the rest of the year.
Candles: Many superstitions have been forgotten since the advent of electricity, but we still put candles on cakes and make wishes when we blow them out. Did you know that a strong straight flame means the arrival of a stranger?
Cats: If a cat washes its face and paws more than three times, you can expect company. Black cats bring luck, gray cats bring more luck but white cats bring illness. Some people believe that if a cat follows you, you can expect some money soon. If a black cat crosses your path it is said to bring bad luck – yet there are ways to counteract this, one is to go home and start over; The second is to go back 12 steps!
Christmas: A child born on Christmas Day is considered lucky and able to understand the language of animals. A white Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere means fewer deaths the following year, a lack of snow means the opposite.
Clover: Finding a four-leaf clover is lucky. Wearing it in your left shoe guarantees this luck.
Coins: Owning a coin bearing your year of birth is considered lucky. The Scots believe that if you put a coin in each shoe on New Year’s Day, you will have money for the whole year.
Dogs: Many people believe that a howling dog is a sign of death. If a strange dog enters your home, it is considered lucky, although some people believe the opposite. A dog lying in the doorway looking out is a sure sign of visitors. If your dog looks in, someone is about to leave for the day.
Eyes, ears, eyebrows: all have the same meaning when they itch or irritate. Right indicates rudeness so if your right ear is burning, itching or ringing, it means someone is talking bad about you. The left side is for love, so if your left ear, eye and eyebrow itch or someone is talking about you lovingly.
Fingernails: Cutting nails on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday is considered lucky but on Friday is considered inauspicious. When you cut your nails, make sure you dispose of the clippings so no one can cast spells on you.
Flowers: Saying it with flowers takes on a whole new meaning when you consider: Carnations are for loyalty; Daisy says you’re sorry; Honeysuckle means stability; Lily says “You’re the only one for me;” Rose says I love you; Violets represent hope and marigolds represent wisdom.
Gloves: Putting on gloves means disappointment. You can avoid this by allowing someone else to pick it up for you.
Hair: If you cut your hair during the new moon, it will grow faster. A cowherd is considered lucky. Some people believe that rain makes your hair grow faster. The hair on your shoulders means a letter at the end of the week. If you drop the comb while combing your hair, it means that you will have an argument with the first person you meet.
Hands: If your left palm itches you will get money, if your right hand itches it’s time to pay. Another superstition says; When two people share the same basin to wash their hands, they will fight before the end of the day.
Hats: Wearing a hat indoors or putting a hat on the bed is considered inauspicious.
Horses: Two white horses are considered lucky. If the horseshoe is hung above the door, its ends are said to point upwards. Most horseshoes have seven nail holes – number seven is believed to be protective.
Houses: When visiting a house, never leave through the same door you entered, if this is not possible, don’t take yourself out the door! If the door opens by itself, you can expect a visitor. If you manage to get in through the window after locking yourself in, you must open the door, then climb back out the window and back in through the door again, or you will be haunted by bad luck for the rest of the year.
Insects: Busy ants predict bad weather. Ladybirds bring luck. Killing spiders brings rain. Finding spiders on your clothes means letters, money, or both.
Travel: If you turn back after going out, you may feel disappointed for the rest of the day. To avoid this, go around three times before returning home, then – if you can – take a different route to your destination. Some say it’s an omen if you start traveling on the 13th of the month – but it doesn’t say whether it’s good or bad.
Mirror: Breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck (we’ve all heard it). Did you know that looking in the mirror by candlelight is considered unlucky? Once the bride gets dressed, she should not look back in the mirror. Do not hold the animal and look in the mirror.
Moon: Some say it is inauspicious to see the moon over your left shoulder. A halo around the moon is rain. If the moon first appears through the branches of a tree, it is considered auspicious.
Nails: If you see a nail with its point towards you, you will have good luck for the rest of the day.
New Year’s Day: Having empty pockets on this day means little or no money for the year, but drinking the last drop from any bottle is considered auspicious! It is considered lucky to have someone tall and dark visiting you for the first time…
Nose: Some say an itchy nose means you will be kissed by a fool; Others say you are ready for battle. Body language devotees will say you are lying. If your nose bleeds for no reason, some say you are in love!!
Numbers: Who among us can say that he or she hasn’t received a lucky number or two?
Opals: Considered inauspicious if you were born in Libra, this is your birthstone.
Peacock Feathers: Peacock feathers are traditionally considered inauspicious.
Playing cards: Playing cards can bring bad luck. Cards considered inauspicious include the Nine of Diamonds (the curse of Scotland). The Four of Clubs (called the Devil’s Bedpost); and the Ace of Spades (often referred to as the death card if drawn when cutting cards). To change your luck, ask for a new deck – or get up from the table, turn around three times and rejoin the game (you might feel a little silly doing this in a casino but “who cares.”
Peapods: If you find a pod with nine peas in it, it’s considered a good omen – so make a wish by placing the pod on your right shoulder.
Pins: See a pin, pick it up, get good for the day. How many times have you recited this little rhyme?
Pictures: When a picture falls it means bad luck. If it is a photograph or painting of someone, tragedy may soon befall that person.
Rabbit’s Foot: Unlucky for Rabbits but considered lucky by many.
Rainbow: When you see a rainbow, make a wish and your wish will come true. If you see a rainbow on Saturday, luck is coming your way.
Mice: We all know that mice leave a sinking ship, but mice leaving home only makes sense! Catching two mice in a trap is considered lucky!
Ring: A birthstone ring is said to bring good luck. It is considered bad luck to remove your wedding ring in public.
Shirt: Wearing your shirt inside out is a bad day ahead, but if you keep it and wear it inside out, it is believed to bring good luck.
Shoes: Placing new shoes on the table is considered unlucky, but throwing an old shoe at the newlyweds is lucky – one of the reasons shoes are traditionally attached to the wedding car.
Skirt: Kissing the upturned hem of the skirt is believed to bring good luck to the wearer. If your petticoat is hanging down under your skirt you should make a wish before adjusting it or you will have a bad day.
Chappal: Crossing the chappal is considered inauspicious as it brings bad luck in the house.
Scissors: If you drop a pair of scissors, you should run them gently before picking them up to avoid an argument. Hanging your scissors on a nail or hook brings good luck. If someone gives you a pair of scissors, give them a coin in return.
Snails: Seeing lots of snails or snails crawling on high ground is a sure sign of rain.
Spoons: Spooning means guests. Soon a big drop is the whole family or visitors. Dropping a knife means a strange man will call. The dropping of the thorn means the arrival of the woman.
Stars: If you make a wish on a star, your wish will come true. A shooting star brings good luck.
Thirteen: The number 13 has a long history and is considered inauspicious in most areas. It is said that if 13 people gather at one time, one will be dead within 12 months! Friday the 13th is considered unlucky for some people – some say it’s a day to try to get rid of any superstitions.
Towel: How many people believe that if you throw out a towel, a visitor will come?
Umbrellas: It is considered very inauspicious to keep an umbrella open or inside the house.
Marriage: Losing a wedding ring means losing a spouse. If a cat sneezes at the bride’s house on her big day, it means rain.
Wishbones: Many of us have pulled on a wishbone and wished we had removed a large chunk. Another superstition is that the one who gets the small piece will marry first or, if both people are already married, attract a lover.
Wood: How often do you: “touch wood” when you want to make something happen?
Whether you believe in superstitions or not, you have to admit that at some point you’ve either rubbed salt on your shoulder, touched wood, or wondered if you’re tempting fate by walking under a ladder.
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