30 SOMETHING SUPERSTITIONS AND THEIR ORIGINS
30 SOMETHING SUPERSTITIONS AND THEIR ORIGINS
It once used to be a very pricey item, so spilling it might have led to bad luck. Also you were supposed to throw it over your left shoulder - that was the place where the Devil was supposedly standing
Dislike towards these animals is attributed to their potential connection to witchcraft in the Middle Ages.
Witches are supposed to be afraid of horses, hence their fear of horseshoes. Another tale says that a Devil came to the blacksmith to have his hoof done, but it was so painful that the Devil promised not to go into the house with the horseshoe
Around 600 BC people already believed that a limb of this totem animal may bring fertility
Step on the crack, break your mother's back
Apparently, there are several explanations to this one. A more racist version claims that it should be 'make your mother black' since inter-ratial marriages were frowned upon and a black baby in a white family was bad luck. On the brighter side, cracks are said to be pathways directly into the underworld.
Break a leg! = Give birth to a bastard!
(both are wishes of good luck to an actor)
Could be traced back to both Shakespeare England and Ancient Greece, but the meaning of it was connected to the success of an actor who would either bow multiple times to the amazed audience or cause them to stopm their feet.
Goose wish bone
The wish bone could predict the weather, although many wishes could also come true with its help
This phrase may either be related to the fact that one's soul may be ejected when a person sneezed or the time of Black Death when sneezing was one of the symptoms.
Hat on the bed
Bad spirits were at some point of time believed to live in the hair, so putting a hat on the bed brought bad luck
Bird's pooping and ladybugs
These are also associated with luck from the God since they all come from above and, therefore, are carriers of good news and miracles.
One of the chimney sweeps saved a King who was about to be run over by a carriage - they are still considered lucky
From the bride not seeing the groom on the wedding day (she may get cold feet) to dropping a wedding ring (the person who drops it will die first) to needing something borrowed, something new and something old and something blue.
ROMANS, GREEK, EGYPTIANS and CELTS
It is considered to be connected with the Beast, but its roots go back to the Roman Emperor Nero and the numerical value of his name
A shooting star
Ptolemy theorised that when you see a shooting star, you see God peering down on Earth
Opening an umbrella inside
Egyptians believed that since umbrellas protected people from the Sun, opening it inside will enrage the Gods.
Holding one's breath while passing the cemetery
Many religions believed breath to be connected with one's soul, so it made sense to hold one's breath when surrounded by the dead
Throwing a coin into a fountain
Typical for both Celtic and Roman cultures, this tradition may have something to do with worshipping the gods.
Metals were often considered as presents from gods
These flowers could cure diseases produced by faries and blowing one would protect you or heal you.
Breaking a mirror]
Supposedly, a mirror was a reflection of your soul, and breaking one would mean 7 years of bad luck.
Knock on wood
Since good spirits lived in trees, when a blessing or advice was needed, people knocked on wood to ask the Gods for assistance
Birthday cake and candles
The Romans baked the cake and decorated it with candles to make it look like the moon - a tribute to Artemis, the Goddess of the moon
Carrying a bride over the threshold
The groom was protecting her from the evil spirits that lived below + it was bad luck if a bride would trip over the entrance
BIBLICAL and CHRISTIAN
4-leaf clover (NOT a shamrock!)
Supposedly, Eve brought a specimen as a reminder of the Paradise and a souvenir from the Garden of Eve
Jesus had a supper with 12 disciples before Friday - the day when he was crusified
NB: fear of number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia
7 - this is how many days the Creation of everything took (the Book of Genesis)
Walking under a ladder
A ladder is thought to represent the Holy Trinity, and when you walk under it, you supposedly demonstrate your disrespect to it.
All things come in 3 (people even have 3 names!). In many cultures it is a number of great significance, Russia included
It reminded people of the cross, which was supposed to protect one from all evil.
Brings good luck as it is associated with Virgin Mary (it is bad luck if you kill one).
Lucky numbers: 7
It is believed to be lucky as there are 7 Gods of Fortune in Japanese mythology