A few days ago, my husband and I were driving home from somewhere when a black cat ran across the road in front of our car. He said, “It has some white on it so we are safe.” I asked him if he was superstitious and we both laughed, but that got me thinking about all the superstitions I heard about when I was growing up.
Some of those were things that were considered unlucky to do such as: walking under a ladder, opening an umbrella inside, putting your shoes on the table, breaking a mirror (seven years bad luck), breaking a chain letter, hanging a horseshoe upside down, knocking a salt shaker over, having a bird fly into your house or an owl fly over your house.
A superstitious person is defined as one who believes in irrational beliefs that do not have grounds in logic and reason in our physical world. An example of this would be us thinking we were going to have bad luck because a black cat ran in front of our car.
Other superstitions I heard about as a child were that the number 13 was unlucky, and Friday the 13th could be a very unlucky and bad day. I’m not alone because many people stay home on Friday the 13th so as not to tempt fate. Hotels and skyscrapers usually do not have a 13th floor, and table 13 is missing in most restaurants.
Singer Taylor Swift has done a lot to change the image of the number 13. She was born on December 13th and considers 13 to be her lucky number. She paints the number 13 on her hand before every show for good luck. When asked about 13 being her lucky number, Swift said, “My first album went gold in 13 weeks. Every time I’ve won an award I’ve been seated in either the 13th seat, the 13th row, the 13th section or row M, which is the 13th letter.”
Knocking on wood, or touching wood for luck is another superstition that I grew up with. If you talk about your good fortune or something you intend to do, it’s considered good luck to knock on wood for luck or perhaps to ward off any bad luck.
We’ve all heard that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding ceremony. At the wedding of a friend’s daughter a couple of years ago, there was the sweetest scene and nod to this superstition. Before the beautiful outdoor ceremony, the bride and groom stood on either side of the corner of the bride’s tent where they couldn’t see one another. They held hands around the corner as they each read the loving words they had written to one another for their wedding day.
As a child, I used to hear that deaths and bad luck both come in threes. I’ve actually heard that one throughout my life from many other people. Because I’ve heard it so often, whenever I hear of someone dying, I automatically think there will be two more deaths. I didn’t think I was, but I guess I am a little superstitious.
For good luck, people used to carry a lucky rabbit’s foot. I haven’t seen this for a really long time, but I used to think that carrying the dyed foot of a dead rabbit was kind of gross.
When I was growing up, my mother always gave my brothers and me a shiny new penny on New Year’s Eve for good luck in the new year. I continued this tradition with my own children. In the southern part of the United States, people eat black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year. I’ve actually adopted this practice during my nine years of living in Texas.
We’ve all probably picked up a penny from the ground for good luck. If it’s not heads up, I always turn it over for the next person. Other common symbols of good luck are finding a 4-leaf clover, seeing a shooting star, the number 7, and seeing ladybugs.
Some people think that more spiritual good luck signs are seeing a rainbow as a symbol of hope, and seeing small white feathers which can mean that angels are around us.
Whether we actually believe in superstitions or not, some of them are just simply fun to think about and do! What superstitions have you heard of or practiced in your life?
Author’s note: We’ve already had our Friday the 13th days for 2018. They fell on April 13th and July 13th. The next one won’t be until Friday, September 13, 2019.