Hello everyone! Today’s post is specially scheduled to go out during the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day of the… erm…eleventh month! Yes, it’s that day feared more than others for all kinds of reasons – Friday the 13th.
So do you feel lucky? Well do ya? Will today be filled with joy or will every tiny mishap, hold-up or grumble be the fault of the universe and how the calendar has aligned?
I’ll admit that I hold many superstitions but the number 13 isn’t one of them – growing up in a house numbered 13 kind of dispelled that concern. However, there are many others I do abide by, almost subconsciously. Actions I perform without thinking in order to keep the cosmos ticking over without incident!
From an early age, I’d avoid cracks in the pavement, jumping from side to side and teetering on tiptoes just in case I accidentally caused bad luck. What the consequence would be or falling flat on my face (other than displaying my knickers to the world in utter humiliation!) seemed to be determined by whatever myself and my friends thought was the most pressing worry that week. We were only about seven, so these usually sounded something like…
“Eugh… don’t step on the cracks or you’ll have to marry Jamie and have his baaaaabies!”
“Don’t step on the cracks or you’ll have to eat sprouts for EVER!”
“Don’t step on the cracks or Mrs.Higgins will lock you in her classroom. At night. In the dark. And eat you!”
Many of my superstitions come from my Nana. She was incredibly cautious with certain objects, actions and beliefs when she was alive. Refusing point blank to get in a green car, never giving gloves as a present and screaming “Don’t kill it, don’t kill it!” if a spider entered the house were all mantras she lived by.
She would tell me off for whistling in the house or swinging a door back and forth and remind me that under no circumstances were we to wash clothes on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday). She even considered for many years about changing the number of the family home to 11a. Just in case!
“But why is it bad luck Nana?”
“It just is.”
And who am I to question? What if that one time we DID perform one of the actions and some tragedy was initiated? Best to continue looking like an idiot attempting some war dance every time I drop my keys whilst shouting “STAND ON THEM!”
But where do all these ideas come from? And does everyone follow the same superstitions? Some I understand – don’t walk under a ladder is quite practical advice really. But others are, well a tad ridiculous if I’m honest. A little research has shown me that superstitions from across the world may have leaked into many other cultures and nations but there are equally as many that are peculiar and particular to a certain country. So here’s my list of the top ten strangest superstitions (in my opinion) from around the globe and history, plus the reasons behind them!
In Japan, children are told to hide their stomachs during a thunderstorm in case Raijin (god of thunder) tries to steal and eat your belly button during the storm.
As someone who has a fear of belly buttons, this practice may need to be adopted….
In Turkey, it is believed to be bad luck to chew gum at night.
Apparently people believe it becomes the flesh of the dead after dark…
19th century farmhouses around Vermont in the USA were often built with slanted ‘witch windows’. It was believed that a witch would be unable to fly through on their broomstick at such an angle.
Unless they were a stunt witch of course…
In Spain, people eat grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve to bring 12 months of good luck.
But grapes make wine right? So 12 glasses must mean all the luck in the world. Or a headache.
Back in the dark ages of Medieval Britain, woman would make a ‘Groaning Cheese’ – a large wheel of the stuff that was matured for nine months during pregnancy.
It would be shared out among the family for luck after the birth and once only the outer rind was left, the baby would be passed through the ring to be blessed!
A photograph taken of three people together is believed to signify the person in the middle will die first.
You’re all heading to check your Instagram and Facebook albums now, aren’t you?!
In Russia, carrying an empty bucket or even seeing someone with an empty water carrier is considered ultimate bad luck.
Apparently, Tsar Alexander was assassinated by a man WHO HAD BUCKETS FOR HANDS. Sorry, whaaaaaat?
In Italy (and many other countries), if a cat sneezes near you it will bring wealth and happiness.
Pity there isn’t a superstition associated with vomiting up hairballs…
For the Portuguese, walking backwards is considered ill fated as it paves the way for the Devil to enter.
Plus, you can’t see those cracks you’ve been trying to avoid!
People the world over believed that cameras could capture your soul when photography was first invented.
Plus, if an enemy acquired the photograph, they would have endless power over you. I once employed someone who continued to believe this – Obtaining his ID badge was an absolute nightmare!
Which superstitions do you abide by? Do you know anymore weird and wonderful beliefs? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments. Until then, keep your shoes off the table, whip out the rabbit’s foot and hibernate until tomorrow, just in case. There’s only ten hours to go then we’re free until 2016!