Friday, 13 February 2009

Are you superstitious?

Another Friday the thirteenth ! So that's two things to worry about then - Friday and Thirteen.
So presumably double bad luck in the air.
However much I tell my self it is all nonsense - that all these silly superstitions have been imposed upon the natural world by human beings - I still have a few vestiges of superstition that I cannot shake off.
Do you knowingly walk under a ladder without crossing your fingers? I certainly don't; I even cross my fingers if I walk under scaffolding.
And if I see the new moon for the first time through a glass window I am less than happy and have a sudden urge to say "abracadabra, fiddle-de-dee, gobble-do-gook" (if I am alone - yes I will admit it - I have been known to say it and to turn around three times). Both these things I have remembered from my childhood, living with a mother who was absolutely riddled with superstitions She would never bring May (hawthorn) blossom into the house, nor ivy.
In the old days, when we killed a pig each December and cured or stored the meat, there would be a rule that no pregnant woman was to come anywhere near the house until the whole operation was over, as a pregnant woman would taint the meat!
One of my Father's regular sayings on a Thursday evening, would be "Ah well, tomorrow will be Friday and we've caught no fish today!" I understand that fishermen still consider it bad luck to put out to sea on a Friday. Is this so?
Mother's ornaments, if they had faces, had to be looking into the room, not out of it.
I suspect that we have come quite a long way since you could be burnt at the stake for witchcraft five hundred years ago - but old habits die hard and there are still a lot of superstitions about.
I still say "rabbits" on the first of the month (at school we used to say "a pinch and a punch for the first of the month"!)
And why exactly is thirteen unlucky? (Isn't it something to do with Jesus and the Apostles?) And why, if you are acting in Macbeth, must you never say the name of the play?
I could go on - but I would love to know it you have any superstitions which you adhere to, even though you know it is rubbish.
Do you do any of the following for example:
Never leave scissors open on the table.
Never put shoes on the table.
Never cross knives on the table.
Always throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder if you spill it.
Never say thankyou if you drop a glove and someone else picks it up for you.
Say "touch wood" if you say something that tempts fate.
So, I ask again. Are you superstitious? No? Think carefully - and let me know. Good luck!!

20 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Jeepers, those are a lot of superstitions I knew nothing about! Perhaps the fates are kind to those ignorant of their rules...like myself..for nothing bad has happened to me yet. I love the idea of saying "rabbits" on the first of the month and shall henceforth adopt it because it sounds like fun. And who knows, maybe I have been missing out of some good fortune!!

I don't really think I'm superstitious at all, but have to admit to one little peccadillo of my very own. I have several calendars in the house that I love, but refuse to turn the page to a new month until after midnight on the first day. I'm not certain when this started in my brain, but there you go. I do think I've managed to turn this into a bit of a personal superstition. But I"ve always found Friday 13th fun for some reason. No doubt, given my many eccentricities, I would have been one of the first fried witches had I lived during that time!!

Jenn Jilks said...

I'm not superstitious. It is bad luck if you think it is - attitude is the important thing!

Heather said...

I am not very superstitious but do put knives straight if they cross on the table and it makes sense not to walk under a ladder in case someone drops a hammer or a pot of paint on your head. We used to say 'a pinch and a punch on the first of the month' as children, and if we saw an ambulance we had to hold on to the lapel of our coat until we saw a dog!! How daft can you get? Sitting at a table or in a seat with the number 13 wouldn't bother me, but from habit I still say goodmorning to a lone magpie!! And I do say 'touch wood' - just in case, you never know, it might make a difference!!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What a fascinating list of superstitions, Weaver, a lot of which I had not heard of!

I am not superstitious at all - like Pamela Terry, I've always found Friday 13th fun!

I like some traditions, for a sense of continuity and connection with one's past, but not superstition. One thing I've always done, again because it's fun, is to make a wish when I eat my first mince pie of the season!

jinksy said...

Touch wood - yes - without thinking of it being a superstition! It's just an everyday expression to me. How funny.
I can see my Mum doing the salt over the shoulder thing, though. We used to have a cut glass salt cellar with a little spoon, so it was all too easy to flip the spoon accidentally and to flip salt all over the tablecloth as a result. Wow, instant return to childhood...

Elizabeth said...

I was interested in the may and the ivy - we certainly never had them in the house.
Later on I had my study stenciled with ivy and felt a little guilty about it... even as a non-living decoration.
Shoes on the table would be straight unhygenic!
Spilling salt (life) does requite throwing a pinch over your shoulder.
Our son's wedding was Friday 13th July 2007.
I think they got a good deal on the reception hall since everyone else wanted the Sat. before which was
7/7/07.
He is a very fortunate person.
Yes, definitely "Pinch punch/first of the month" and walk downstairs backwards and kiss the first person you meet.........and so on!

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

I am not superstitious. However, out of habit, I knock on wood to keep whatever it is I'm talking about at bay.

"I've been fortunate not to catch the flu this season" [knock on wood]

Woman in a Window said...

We are a gang of idiots. We knock three times on wood constantly, my two kids, my husband and I. Whenever we make even a very loose reference to one of us being hurt we knock three times. I'm surprised our house doesn't just fall over.

I will knock three times after this post.

Hildred said...

Well, my rabbits at the first of the month have to be White Rabbits - and I do the salt thing, and knock on wood, and when I was a small girl the clergyman's wife told me if I were to kiss the Reverend while he was sleeping on the couch he would be required to give me a pair of white gloves. I think I was too shy to test this one.

Rowan said...

I'm afraid I am quite superstitious - all learned from my mum. I always do the salt thing, never put shoes on a table and don't like to see the new moon through glass. I prefer to see two magpies rather than one and never pick up a glove if I've dropped it and so on and so on. My mum would never have May blossom in the house either, she called it 'mother die' ( or was that cow parsley?). A lot of these things I have no idea why the superstition has arisen, it would be interesting to find out about them.

acornmoon said...

I try not to be superstitious, Friday 13th has always been a good day, although yesterday a robin flew into the house on Friday 13th! I am still here to tell the tale.

I have a horror of red flowers mixed with white in a bouquet, this comes from my great grandmother who was a nurse, something to do with blood and bandages. This has been compounded by the fact that a terrible event followed the gift of such a bouquet. I suppose it would have happened anyway.

Rachel Fox said...

As our lovely daughter was born on a 13th I see it as a lucky number. And the Friday thing has never stuck with me since I lived in Spain and there it's a different day (Tues 13th I think) that's considered unlucky.
Superstitions are good stories...and folk love a story.
x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh dear - it seems from your replies that the age of superstition is certainly not dead. Of course, we don't believe any of it - and yet we do these things. Now why is that? Are we hedging our bets? Is it just habit? There seems to be a superstition attached to all the following things, according to your comments:-

knives, calendars, ladders, ambulances, magpies, wood mincepies,salt, may blossom, ivy, cow parsley (otherwise called motherdie), shoes, gloves, birds and kissing vicars(!??)

Shall stop doing all of these things, as it is nonsense, but shall touch wood instead - just in case.

Reader Wil said...

Well,that's an interesting post about things I had never heard of. I don't do any of the things you mentioned. Only I would never put my shoes on a table, because they are dirty. I am absolutely not superstitious!

Kayla coo said...

I try not to be superstitious,
but infact I would never open an umbrella indoors and I'm always saying touch wood!

Poet in Residence said...

I think I don't walk under ladders because when I was a kid I read lots of comics like Dandy and Beano where people walking under ladders got a tin of paint on the head.
I think there's something odd about the number 22. But I couldn't say if it's lucky or unlucky.

EB said...

The fish thing might perhaps have come from the tradition of eating fish (rather than meat) on Friday, which many years ago was done as an act of religious self-denial. Catholic families kept this up for quite some time, and it's the kind of thing that sticks; we still do it, mainly to encourage me to cook more fish.

I do touch wood. Anything that makes me avoid hubris is good.

The one about scissors, shoes on tables, and ladders are surely just common sense, with a picturesque twiddle on top?

I'm not suprestitious, but I have a lot of deep (and deeply odd) spiritual ideas which can seem rather similar to others :)

Bdogs said...

Oh, this was a good one! My mother's family were French and I remember from earliest childhood never to put a hat on a bed. I always throw salt over the shoulder, and I just never walk under a ladder. Period! My first husband always tried to say "rabbits" on the first of the month, but we hardly ever remembered (it has to be the first thing one says). Maybe that's what doomed us to divorce...

Mistlethrush said...

I'm not superstitious. Just as well really, since my registration number for my O levels (a long time ago!) was 13.

Interesting post - thanks

BT said...

Gosh Weaver, I hadn't heard of half of those!! I can be superstitious if I'm acting. I always have to go to the same loo! Now how odd is that?