English

Superstitions

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Superstitions are beliefs about certain things that happen that result in good or bad omens. Most countries have their own superstitious beliefs

I this big and multicultural world we live in, there are certain things people do which make cultures have differences, and also a lot of similarities. Among these are superstitions. The question is, what do we make of it? Some people strongly believe in them, some are indifferent and others just plainly couldn’t be bothered with mere superstitions.

We have, I’m sure, all heard of the common superstitions such as when someone sees a black cat and it crosses their path (which would be considered bad luck), or breaking a mirror which is considered as 7 years of bad luck. Also walking through underneath a ladder can be bad luck (but in my opinion, walking under a ladder is probably not the safest thing to do anyway). The number 13 or Friday 13th is considered an unfavourable number in many cultures. Also, opening an umbrella inside the house.

Now that the bad news is out the way, time for the good news. Maybe it’s a worldwide thing, but hanging a horse shoe on the door will bring good luck, also, having a rabbit’s foot (personally I don’t know anyone with a rabbit’s foot, or a horse shoe for that matter). But these are old superstitions so most people in our time now don’t really follow this. Stepping in dog poo is also good luck, as odd as it may seem if you think about it. Having an itchy right hand means you will get money soon. Four-leaf clovers, which are rare to find, bring immense good fortune. I’ve heard of most of these, so they must be I’m sure quite known. Knocking on wood is also supposed to remove potential bad luck. They say when a bird poos on your head it’s good luck too, which reminds me of a time I was very young and a bird made droppings on my head. I was sad and embarrassed, then someone sat me down and told me it’s good luck. At the time I thought they just told me that to make me feel better.

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In Russia they have certain superstitions such as: you should never eat from a knife (it will turn you into a terrible person), never whistle inside a house (it’s gonna make you poor), never leave empty bottles on the table (it will make money and fortune go away from you), same as wiping the crumbs from the table with a hand. Never salute or shake hands if you have not walked inside the house (something to do with an elf that lives in the doorway). Some people put a knife on the top part of the doorframe (it chase bad people away from your house). Never give a pair number of flowers as a gift (pair number is only for the graveyard). Also, never salute with gloves, it’s a symbol that you are not a trustful person.

In France there is one about if a kid is laying down and somebody walks past over their legs, they won’t grow up. Also, for saying cheers with drinks, whether it’s with friends, family, colleagues, etc it’s important to look the other in the eyes when glasses cheers, otherwise it could be seven years of bad sex. We used to joke about it back in South Africa, but had no idea it was an actual superstition. Speaking of which, in South Africa we say that when a broom touches your foot when someone else is sweeping, you’ll never get married. When you have a twitch in your eye, it means you’re going to see someone you haven’t seen in a long time. Here’s a good one, if you buy your partner/spouse shoes, they will run away. Seeing an owl on your roof can be a bad omen. Also, we believe that if you dream about snakes, it means that someone is pregnant in your family. And if you swim in the sea/ocean it cleanses bad luck.

A few Polish superstitions include: whenever a there is a squirrel on the roof, there is a possibility of a fire. If you are in Poland and see a stork (bocian) flying or in its nest, it’s good luck, but if it’s standing on the ground it’s bad luck. Seeing a chimney sweep, a priest and a white horse in a row is considered to be the best omen. Also shortly after a wedding, the bride and groom should ideally plant a linden tree, so in case there’s any conflict, they can chat under the tree to reconcile.

In Turkey, apparently if you sit between two people with the same name, then you should make a wish. Probably the most popular one in Turkey is the evil eye and it’s said to keep away bad luck. Broken glass as well is said to keep away bad luck. Single women who want to get married write their names under the bride’s shoes.

And in Macedonia they say if you are visiting someone, it’s not good to leave at midnight, because this is when the “bad fairies” come out. Rather leave before or after 00:00.

So essentially they’re all superstitions. Whether you believe them or not, that comes to personal opinion. However I would personally emphasise that if something happens that could be “bad”, don’t dwell on it because it could potentially lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s just my two cents on this topic (which I will now throw into the well and make a wish).

Chris Maiken

 

 

Categories: English, Opinion

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