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Are You Superstitious?
Do you throw salt on your shoulder, avoid walking under stairs or leave something behind for good luck when you move house? Have you ever wished on a star? Superstitions have been passed down from generation to generation since ancient times. Here are some you may recognize and some that may be new to you. Some you will trust, some you will reject others 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 recite the letters of the alphabet as you do so, the letter you reach when the peel breaks is the first initial of a future lover! Or, if you cut an apple in two without cutting out a seed, your desire for love will come true.
Bats: If a bat approaches you, someone is trying to cast a spell on you or betray you. If someone hits you or breaks into your home, this is a sign of a death or bad luck for someone you love.
Bees: Bees bring news and should be told of any death. If the bees are buzzing before the start of spring, it means more cold weather is coming. If they stay in their hive it means rain.
Bridges: If you make a wish while crossing a bridge, your wish will come true within a year. It is also considered lucky if you happen to be walking under a bridge when a train passes overhead, especially if the whistle blows.
Brooms: If you sweep a broom under someone’s feet, that person will have bad luck for a year. Keep a broom behind the door to sweep away the witches. If a child starts to sweep, you can expect visitors and never step over a fallen broom – pick it up.
Birds: If a bird flies into your home, it usually means good luck or good news to come. If the bird is black, then bad news is on its way. To rob a bird’s nest is to bring sorrow. If you hear an owl, expect news of a death. Hunting 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 a cake and make a wish 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 even luckier, but white cats bring disease. 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 – however there are ways to counter this, one is to go home and start again; another is to take 12 steps back!
Christmas: A child born on Christmas Day is supposed to be lucky and able to understand the language of animals. In the Northern Hemisphere a white Christmas means fewer deaths the following year, no snow means the opposite.
Clover: Finding a four-leaf clover is lucky. Putting it on your left shoe guarantees this luck.
Coins: It is considered lucky to hold a coin bearing the year of birth. The Scots believe that if you put a coin in each shoe on New Year’s Day, you will have money throughout the 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 even though some people believe otherwise. A dog lying in the doorway looking out is a sure sign of a visitor. If your dog is watching, then someone is leaving for the day,
Eyes, ears, eyebrows: All have the same meaning when they itch or irritate. Right means indignation, so if your right ear burns, itches or buzzes, it means someone is saying bad things about you. The left is for love, so if it’s your left ear, eye and eyebrow that itches or tingles, someone is speaking lovingly to you.
Fingernails: It is considered lucky to cut your nails on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, but unlucky on Friday. When you cut your nails, be sure to throw away the clippings so that no one can cast spells on you.
Flowers: Saying flowers takes on a whole new meaning when you consider the following: Carnations are for loyalty; daisies say you’re sorry; honeysuckle means endurance; lilies say “you’re the only one for me;” roses say I love you; violets indicate hope and marigolds represent wisdom.
Gloves: Throwing off gloves means disappointment. You can avoid this by letting someone else get them for you.
Hair: Cutting your hair when there is a new moon means it will grow faster. A cow is considered lucky. Some people believe that rain makes hair grow faster. A stray hair on the shoulder means a letter before the end of the week. If you drop a 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 receive money, if your right hand itches, it is time to pay money. Another superstition says; when two people share the same basin to wash their hands, they will fight before the day is over.
Hats: It is considered unlucky to wear a hat indoors or place a hat on a bed.
Horses: Two white horses are considered lucky. Horseshoes are said to bring good luck if hung above the door with the ends pointing up. Most horseshoes have seven nail holes – the number seven is believed to be protective.
Homes: When visiting a home, never leave through the same door you entered, if that’s not possible, then don’t let yourself be kicked out the door! If a door opens by itself, you can expect a visitor. If you happen to be locked out and manage to get in through a window, you must open the door, then climb back out the window and back in through the door, 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 a spider in your clothes means a letter, money or both.
Trips: If you return after departure, you can expect disappointments throughout the day. To avoid this, turn around three times before returning home, then – if you can – take another route to your destination. Some say it is an omen if you start a journey on the 13th of the month – but whether it is a good or bad omen is not mentioned.
Mirrors: Breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck (we’ve all heard this one). Did you know that it is considered unlucky to look in the mirror by candlelight? After the bride is dressed, she should not look back in the mirror. Do not look in the mirror while holding an animal.
Moon: Some say it is unlucky to look at the moon over your left shoulder. A halo around the moon means rain. It is considered lucky if you first see the moon through the branches of a tree.
Nails: If you find a nail with the point towards you, then luck will be yours for the rest of the day.
New Year’s Day: Having empty pockets on this day means having little or no money for the whole year, but drinking the last drop from every bottle is considered good luck! Having someone tall and dark as the first person to visit is considered lucky…
Nose: Some say that an itchy nose means you will be kissed by a fool; others say you are preparing for a war. Body language aficionados will say you’re lying. If your nose bleeds for no apparent reason, some say you are in love!!
Numbers: Who among us can say he or she doesn’t have a lucky number or two?
Opals: They are thought to be unlucky, but if you were born in Libra, this is your birthstone.
Peacock Feathers: Traditionally, peacock feathers are considered unlucky.
Playing card: Throwing cards can bring bad luck. Cards considered unlucky include the nine of diamonds (the curse of Scotland). Four of Clubs (called the devil’s bedpost); and the Ace of Spades (often referred to as the death card if drawn during card cutting). To change your luck, ask for a new deck – or get up from the table, go back three times and rejoin the game (you might look a bit silly doing this in the Casino, but “who cares”.
Peapods: If you find a pod with nine peas, it’s considered a good omen – so make a wish, tossing the basket over your right shoulder as you do.
Pins: See a pin, grab it, get lucky all day. How many times have you recited this little rhyme?
Photo: When a photo falls it means bad luck. If it is a photograph or painting of someone, tragedy may soon strike.
Rabbit’s Foot: Unlucky for the rabbit, but considered lucky by many.
Rainbows: Make a wish when you see a rainbow and your wish will come true. If you see a rainbow on Saturday, good luck is headed your way.
Mice: We all know that mice leave a sinking ship, but mice leaving home have the same meaning! Catching two mice in one 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: Putting your shirt inside out means a bad day ahead, but leaving it on and wearing it inside out is supposed to bring good luck.
Shoes: It is considered bad luck to place new shoes on a table, but lucky to throw an old shoe to a newlywed – one of the reasons why shoes are traditionally associated with the wedding car.
Skirts: Kissing the upturned hem of a skirt is supposed to bring good luck to the wearer. If the robe stays below the bottom, you must make a wish before fixing it, otherwise you will have a bad day ahead.
Slippers: It is supposed to be unlucky to pass on slippers as it brings home a bad date.
Scissors: If you drop a pair of scissors, you should step on them gently before picking them up to avoid arguments. Hanging 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 many snails, or snails crawling on higher ground, is a sure sign of rain.
Spoon: Leaving a spoon means a visitor. Throwing a large one will soon mean a whole family or visitors. Throwing a knife means that a strange person will call. Throwing a fork means the arrival of a woman.
Stars: If you wish upon a star, your wish will come true. A shooting star brings good luck.
Thirteen: The number 13 has a long history and has been considered unlucky for most of it. If 13 people are gathered at any one time, it is said that one will die within 12 months! Friday the 13th is considered unlucky by some – others say it’s a day on which you should test every superstition in an attempt to break every genie.
Towels: How many believe that if you leave a towel a visitor will come?
Umbrella: It is considered very unlucky to leave an umbrella open or open it inside.
Wedding: Losing a wedding ring can mean losing a husband/wife. If a cat sneezes at the brides house on her big day, it means rain.
Wishbones: Many of us have pulled a wishbone and made a wish while removing the bulk. Another superstition is that the person who receives the short piece will marry first or, if both are already married, will attract a lover.
Wood: How often have you: “touched wood” when you want something to happen?
Whether you believe in superstition or not, you have to admit at one point or another that you’ve either thrown salt on your shoulder, touched wood, or wondered if, by walking under a ladder, you’re tempting fate.
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