Special Sub-Topic: A-O of Mixed Superstitions
|According to an old English belief, if you hang the dried skin of an adder in the rafters or hearth of your house it will ensure:|
that your house will not burn down. If you kill the first adder you see in spring, your enemies are doomed, but to allow it to live will ensure your own bad luck.
|A bride must inform bees of her marriage or:|
the bees will leave the hive, never to return. Bees also insist on being informed of a death in the family, or they will die or depart. Sussex folklore (among others) recommends draping the hive in white cloth for a joyous event, black for sad news.
|Cats are often regarded with some suspicion. According to European tradition, a visit from a stray tortoiseshell cat is:|
a sign of misfortune. Tortoiseshell cats are also credited with foresight, a gift which they could bestow on a child in the family, though in Normandy, seeing a tortoiseshell cat foretold death by accident.
|According to a British superstition, dew collected on May 1 and rubbed on the face is said to:|
ensure a beautiful complexion for the coming year. Other methods of increasing your beauty include rubbing your face with dry oatmeal each morning, eating carrots, and bathing your face in your morning's first urine!
|A Portugese superstition states that if someone with the evil eye passes you while you are with your herd of cattle you should: |
place your cap over your testicles, then pass it over the heads of your cows. The greatest protection against the evil eye entering your body is a leaf of rue. An offering should be left with the plant in place of the leaf.
|In Ireland, for a funeral procession to meet a man on a white horse is an ill omen. If this happens you should: |
force the rider to turn back and join the procession for a short while. Also, shortcuts should be avoided while taking a corpse to its grave. Otherwise the dead person will take this as an insult.
|"God bless you" is uttered:|
for any of these reasons. "God bless you" has been recorded since AD77 in Pliny's Natural History.
|According to American superstition, a headache can be cured by:|
pressing your thumb against the roof of your mouth. The Chinese suggest swinging your arms as a cure.
|An Italian superstition requires you to touch iron after seeing a nun in order to:|
preserve your good fortune. Superstitious Italians may also say, "Your nun" to the next person they see in order to pass the bad luck to someone else.
|In Wales, to cut down a juniper tree means you risk:|
death within the year. As the juniper tree was said to have played a part in the protection of the infant Jesus from King Herod's men, it is under special protection.
|According to British superstition, for a girl to be left with a hair on her lip after kissing a man with a moustache is a sign that she will:|
die a spinster. Another British superstition says if a girl is kissed by a dark complexioned man she could expect a proposal - I don't know what should be expected if the dark complexioned man has a moustache...
|Lettuce was believed by the Romans to have aphrodisiac qualities, prevent drunkenness, and:|
assist in conception. Some traditions attribute lettuce with contraceptive qualities - don't try this at home!
|A Mexican-American superstition has it that if a pregnant woman goes out in the full moon or during a lunar eclipse her baby will:|
be born with a hare lip or resembling a wolf. A bunch of keys hung in front of the pregnant belly will reflect the moonlight and prevent these disfigurements.
|Quilters also have superstitions. To break a needle while quilting is a sign that:|
the next new baby will be yours. To prick yourself with the needle while quilting presages a kiss given under the covers. The fulfilling of the first superstition could be caused by breaking the needle in anticipation of this kiss!
|An owl hooting among houses, according to Welsh tradition, signifies:|
An unwed girl has just lost her virginity. If an owl hoots during a funeral, the deceased will rise up and haunt the living, and as owls are the only creatures which will tolerate a ghost, you can be sure that any abandoned building inhabited by an owl must be haunted.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction