superstitions Superstitions   Myths   Legends   Folklore   Omens   Lucks   SayingsThere are superstitions for almost all aspects of our daily lives and most have unknown origins. Sometimes they are logical (for example, don’t walk under a ladder) but most of the time they are just silly. Some people can become controlled by their superstitions, which can become unhealthy.

Over the years people have intertwined and interchanged the following: myths, legends, folklore, omens, old wives tales, luck, sayings and superstitions so it is hard to separate them. I have placed the “definition” of those below and tried to categorize things in their right topic, however I will admit is a difficult thing to do with so many crossovers.

Superstition [soo-per-stish-uhn]
A belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like

Luck [luhk]
The force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities

Sayings [sey-ing]
Something said, especially a proverb or apothegm

Folklore [fohk-lawr, -lohr]
The traditional beliefs, legends, customs, etc., of a people; lore of a people

Legend [lej-uhnd]
A non-historical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical

Old wives’ tale
A belief, usually superstitious or erroneous, passed on by word of mouth as a piece of traditional wisdom

Myth
A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal

Omen [oh-muhn]
Anything perceived or happening that is believed to portend a good or evil event or circumstance in the future; portent

An article published in Psychological Science shows that people who believe in “good luck charms” have more confidence than those that do not. So whether what they believe in can be proven true or false it really doesn’t matter.

The other side of the coin shows that believing in superstitions can be unlucky and unhealthy. Certain beliefs can cause people to act without thinking about the consequences and beliefs can cause housing prices to lower and abortions to increase.

For instance, look at the power of a superstition; the unlucky number 13. This particular superstition has been around for a long time. In Rome they believed the number 13 was a symbol of death and destruction. There are many buildings that do not have a 13th floor, houses and apartments will not be numbered 13, many people will not fly or buy things on the13th and restaurants and homes across the world will not allow 13 guests to come or sit at a table.

As you can see believing in such things can cause all kinds of trouble and even danger, so why do people believe?
What it does in people’s lives is give them more security in a very unpredictable world. It puts them in control and most people strive to be there.

Superstitions and the like are usually handed down by the generation before us and thus it is familiar and comfortable for us. It is like a security blanket that we know exactly what we will do or chose when it is time. All you have to do is win the lottery with a certain number and that number will be yours for life.

It is during times of stress, turmoil and strife that you will find superstitions and the like, being used more and more, again it is because of our need to have some sort of control and yet really in the end not be held responsible for the consequences. I lost the game because I didn’t have my lucky shirt on, etc.

One of the worst consequences that can happen in relation to believing fully in superstitions is OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. People make up their own behaviors that they must accomplish or dire results will happen. For instance if I step on a crack, someone will die. They do this because if they do what they think they need to, it gives them safety, security and a great predictability of outcome.

SUPERSTITIONS

GOOD LUCK

To see the thin crescent over ones left shoulder is lucky

Charms and Amulets, in the shape of a crescent moon, are used to protect you from the evil eye, witchcraft and encourage personal wealth.

The Crescent must always point to the left, this represents the first quarter of the moon, when things prosper and grow.

In Roman times, women used to wear silver moon crescents on their shoes to ensure having healthy babies.

People once believed the moon was made of silver, so they would ask the moon for help and jingle the change in their pockets, as they gazed at its glory.

Legend says that to cure warts, catch some moonbeams in a metal basin and wash your hands in it, saying “I wash my hands in thy dish, ‘O man in the moon, do grant my wish, and come and take this away”

The new moon is an auspicious time for planting, courtship, the starting of new business ventures, or trips

It is also the best time to cut the hair and fingernails for better growth later on

If you carry an acorn, you will have continued good luck and a long life

Hanging a horseshoe above the door to any home will bring good luck to all who live there

An old English tradition holds that a new wife seeing the new moon for the first time, should run quickly to her bedroom and turn down her bed to ensure a happy marriage.

At first sight of the new moon, one should turn a silver coin in his purse or pocket and make a wish.

Seeing a new moon for the first time on a Monday will bring you good luck

If the first time you see a new moon, is over your right shoulder, it is a sign of fun times ahead

If you happen to be holding something, in both of your hands, when you see the new moon for the first time, you will never want for anything

A wish made while looking at new moon will come true within a year

To see the thin crescent over ones left shoulder is lucky

Charms and Amulets, in the shape of a crescent moon, are used to protect you from the evil eye, witchcraft and encourage personal wealth.

The Crescent must always point to the left, this represents the first quarter of the moon, when things prosper and grow.

In Roman times, women used to wear silver moon crescents on their shoes to ensure having healthy babies.

Garlic protects from evil spirits and vampires

If you blow out all of the candles on your birthday cake with the first breath you will get whatever you wish for

To have a wish come true using a wishbone, two people make a wish, then take hold of each end of the bone and pull it until it separates. The person with the longer end gets his or her wish

At the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold

 

BAD LUCK

It was thought that to sleep in direct moonlight caused madness or blindness.

In time, the word, lunatic, from “luna”, meaning moon, and “tic”, meaning struck, evolved from this belief.

It is unlucky to view the first new moon through glass or through a tree

It is also unlucky to point at the moon

It is unlucky to rock an empty rocking chair

It is bad luck to step on a grave

It is bad luck for a different person to close a knife than the person who opened it

It’s bad luck to kill a cricket

It’s bad luck to completely finish a new house

Wearing an opal when it is not your birthstone is bad luck

When boiling milk, it’s bad luck to let it run over the side of the pot

When you leave the house and forgot something and must return indoors, then you should count to 10 before leaving again or you will have bad luck.

It is bad luck to dig a grave or bury a body during a new moon.

A bat flying into your home

An owl hooting three times in a row

If you see three butterflies flying together

Spilling salt – this one can be redeemed by grabbing some of the salt and throwing it over your left shoulder. This is believed to be the way in which to throw the salt into the eyes of the evil spirits that are lying in wait.

A five leaf clover

Putting your shirt on wrong side out

Staring at the new moon over your left shoulder

If giving toast and your break the glass you will be bringing bad luck to yourself

A rooster crowing at night

Placing a hat on your bed

Never get out of bed with your left foot first or you will have bad luck all day

Breaking a mirror will bring on 7 years of bad luck

You can break a bad luck spell by turning seven times in a clockwise circle

Singing before breakfast

Opening an umbrella inside the house is sure to bring bad luck to the entire household.

Be sure when you receive a wedding present to never give it away or it will bring bad luck to the marriage.

If you see an owl during the daytime, beware of misfortune

Giving a knife to someone as a present bring bad luck to the friendship

If the groom happens to drop the wedding ring during the ceremony, the marriage will not last

Take off any clothing prior to mending or bad luck will befall you

If a grave digger walks toward you it means you will become very seriously ill

If a black cat crosses your path, turn around, go all the way back and start your destination over

If a black cat crosses your path to put an x on your window

Don’t step on a crack; you’ll break your mother’s back

Don’t step in a hole; you’ll break your mother’s sugar bowl

If you spill salt you have to take some and throw it over your left shoulder to ward off bad luck

Never buy pearls for yourself, it’ll bring bad luck.

It’s bad luck to wash on New Year’s Day

It’s bad luck to wash your hair on your birthday

If you break a mirror, throw salt over your left shoulder to avoid 7 years bad luck

Never put shoes on a bed for ANY reason. It’s very bad luck

Never walk under a ladder

Don’t open an umbrella in the house

To milk a cow being sent to market

To see an owl in the sunlight

Changing a horse’s name

 

OLD WIVES TALES, MYTHS, OMENS, LEGENDS, FOLKLORE AND SUPERSTITIONS

Don’t cross your eyes – they’ll get stuck that way!

You can catch poison ivy from someone who has it

Reading in dim light or sitting too close to the TV damages your eyes

Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death

If you dream of a wedding there will soon be a funeral

If you dream of a funeral there will soon be a wedding

If a tree or post comes between two people walking, these people will soon quarrel

If a pregnant woman sees the blood of a dead animal, wherever she touches herself, she will mark the baby in that spot.

If your left hand itches, you will soon come into money

If your right hand itches, you will soon shake a stranger’s hand

If your nose itches, company is coming

If your ear itches someone is talking about you

If you’re driving and a black cat crosses your path, put an X on the windshield with your finger. If you’re walking and a black cat crosses your path, roll a pant leg up and let it back down. This will prevent bad luck.

Before the Civil War, among the slaves, if a mother died from childbirth and the baby lived, the baby was passed to each family member. This was to prevent the mother’s soul from returning and taking the baby with her.

Shaving your hair causes it to grow back darker, coarser and faster

Knuckle-cracking causes arthritis

You can get the flu from the flu shot

We use only 10 percent of our brains

It’s easier for a couple to conceive if the man wears boxer shorts instead of briefs

Sleeping on your back encourages snoring

Copper bracelets help soothe arthritis

Eating boiled eggs can make you constipated

Pull a grey hair out and you can expect two in its place

Sitting too close to the TV can damage your eyesight

Cloves help relieve toothache

Toothpaste gets rid of skin spots and darkness

Chewing parsley gets rid of garlic breath

Sitting on a hot radiator or cold wall gives you piles

Counting sheep makes you go to sleep

Cleaning your ears with cotton buds can make you go deaf

Chewing on bread can stop you crying when peeling onions

Sharing toothbrushes spreads disease

Swallowed chewing gum takes seven years to digest

Hot Tubs Lower Sperm Count

Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

Long Labor Means a Boy

Swimming Within an Hour of Eating Will Give You Cramps

Shaving Your Legs Makes the Hair Grow in Thicker and Coarser

Seizures are brought on by a full moon

Gain a child lose a tooth

A bar of soap in the bed prevents nighttime leg cramps

Don’t let a person with a head injury sleep

Heartburn during pregnancy means a hairy baby

Teething causes fever, runny nose and diarrhea

Before modern pregnancy tests, if a rabbit injected with a woman’s urine died, the woman was pregnant

If your nose is itching, someone is talking about you

If your hand is itching, that means you are about to get money

A cat will steal your baby’s breath if you let them near a newborn

If you hold a aspirin between your legs you won’t get pregnant

If you keep making an ugly face it’s going to stay that way

Touching a toad will give you warts

If a woman’s carrying low, it’s a boy; if she’s carrying high, it’s a girl

A bat in the house is a sign of a death

When you see a funeral procession go by, you have to make the sign of the cross or someone in your family will be next

A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad sign

Step on a crack will break your mothers back

Knock on wood so you don’t jinx yourself

If it rains on your wedding day, you’ll cry plenty of tears throughout your marriage

Holding a Knife or Axe during an Eclipse Will Result in Injury

Drano can help determine the gender of your unborn child drain – Mix a cup of morning urine with a cup of Drano, if it stays blue it is a girl, if it turns a tea color you are having a boy

CARD PLAYING SUPERSTITIONS

If you have had a run of bad cards it is said to change your luck if you lay your handkerchief flat upon your chair and sit on it.

To alter the run of the cards if you turn your chair round three times or walk round it three times.

It is good luck is to blow through the cards when they are being shuffled.

The luckiest seat is the one which faces the door; the most unlucky is that which has its back to the fire-place.

When cutting for deal, if you turn up the deuce of any suit, it is good luck.

If two packs of cards are used and you are asked with which you wish to deal, always choose the one farthest away from you.

The most unlucky card to hold in one’s hand is the four of clubs.

When changing seats at the table you should always move in a clockwise direction; that is, from right to left.

Never pick up your cards with the left hand, or one card at a time.

It is very unlucky to sit cross-legged when playing cards.

If your partner should lose a game or a trick, never say Bad luck or your luck will not change.

Having a dog in the room while playing cards is said to cause disputes.

Friday is a bad day for card playing

Any thirteenth day of the month is considered unluck

 

FOOD AND DRINK SUPERSTITIONS
Swallowed gum is harmful to the digestive system

Drinking warm milk makes you sleepy

Eating turkey causes drowsiness

Eating spicy foods can give you an ulcer

Cranberry Juice Prevents Urinary Tract Infections

Fish is Good for Your Brain

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Eat your crust – it’s good for you

Chicken soup is good for the soul (and the odd cold too!)

Honey last forever

Salt last forever and never spoils

If an egg floats is bad

When cooking beans never “clean the spoon” by banging/bumping it on the top of the pot or it would make your beans stick

NEVER Drink Milk with Fish or You will be Sick by Morning!

Eating apples at night will constipate you

Eat Mac & Cheese with fish or you’d get worms

Never turn a whole fish over when you serve it at a meal, or the fisherman’s boat will sink

Eating carrots makes your eyesight better

The Heimlich maneuver will not work for someone choking on Peanut butter

Eat burnt toast for a sour stomach

Whiskey, lemon, and honey mixed together are supposed to be good for a cough

Gargle with warm, salty water for a sore throat

Drink buttermilk for irritable bowels

Hot coffee will head off a migraine if you drink it at the very beginning of the headache

You should wait one hour after eating before swimming

Drinking coffee will stunt your growth

For African-Americans, drinking black coffee will make you darker

Eating bread crust would make your hair curly

Don’t drink the water that comes out of the tap

 

HEADACHE FOLK REMEDIES

Put leeches on your forehead

Rub cow dung and molasses on your temples

Tie a buzzard’s head around your neck

Use powdered moss as snuff

Have someone else rub your head

Have a relative read chapters of the Bible to you

Stand on your head or spin around until you are dizzy

Soak your feet in hot water to draw blood from your head

Run around the house three times

Ask a seventh child to blow in your ear

Put a buckwheat cake on your head

Rub your head with a piece of stone containing iron ore

Wrap damp cloths around your head and burn scented wood

Plait a handful of hair very tightly on top of your head

Lean your head against a tree and have someone else drive a nail into the opposite side of the tree

Tie a leather thong tightly around your head

 

BRIDE AND WEDDING SUPERSTITIONS

Wednesday is considered the “best day” to marry

Marry on Monday is for wealth

Marry on Tuesday is for health

The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below

Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore

Ancient Romans studied pig entrails to determine the luckiest time to marry

Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!

Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye

Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice

A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without

A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage

Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony

In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck

In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”)

Queen Victoria started the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress

In Asia, wearing robes with embroidered cranes symbolizes fidelity for the length of a marriage

Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits

Brides carry or wear “something old” on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past

In Denmark, brides and grooms traditionally cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits!

The “something blue” in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love

If the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband

The Roman goddess Juno rules over marriage, the hearth, and childbirth, hence the popularity of June weddings

The bride stands to the groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors

If candles lit on the wedding day splutter and go out it, means those evil spirits are nearby, waiting to cause mischief

Superstition has it that it is tempting fate for the bride to write out or sign her married name before her wedding day. The nuptials are said to be doomed and the wedding will not take place.

Tradition says that the first member of the newlywed couple to purchase a new item following the wedding will be the dominant force in the relationship

A bride should exit her house from the front door and step out right foot first

Newlyweds are doomed to barrenness and will be dependent on charity if they run across a nun or a monk on their way to the church

GOWNS

When a bride makes her own wedding dress, for every stitch she sews she will cry a tear

Colors of a wedding gown

  • Married in White, you have chosen right
  • Married in Grey, you will go far away,
  • Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
  • Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
  • Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
  • Married in Blue, you will always be true,
  • Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
  • Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
  • Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
  • Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.

In Japan, white was always the color of choice for bridal ensembles

In Korea, brides wear bright hues of red and yellow to take their vows

The preferred material for bridal gowns is silk

Satin traditionally brings bad luck, and a velvet dress will threaten poverty in the future

The dress must never be stained with blood

The dress must not be patterned

Pictures of birds or vines must in particular be avoided

Another measure for luck is that the last stitch in the dress be left undone until the very last moment before the bride starts off for the ceremony

Another lucky tradition is for the bride to sew several hairs into her dress

Slipping a coin into her stocking or shoe is believed to ensure future prosperity

RINGS

Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart

About 70% of all brides sport the traditional diamond on the fourth finger of their left hand

A sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness

A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear

Aquamarine represents marital harmony and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage

It is unlucky to go shopping for wedding rings on a Friday, due to the bad luck associated with that day (Friday the 13th)

It is unlucky for the brides or grooms to wear their rings before the wedding ceremony

Once the wedding ring has been placed on the finger, it is considered bad luck to remove it

If the ring accidentally comes off, your spouse must replace it on your finger

Dropping the ring during the ceremony is an evil omen. Whoever dropped the ring would die first. If the ring rolls away from the alter and rested on a gravestone in the floor of the chapel, it would mean the bride would die first if the person buried there was a woman; the groom would die first if it was a man

A tight ring might point to painful jealousy or the stifling of one party by the other

Having the wedding rings blessed by a clergyman is believed to give the ring the power to rid disease and guard the wearer from devils

FLOWERS

Orange blossoms, which represent purity, chastity, and fertility, have always been associated with happy weddings

Roses are used because they signify love

Flowers to be avoided are peonies, as they symbolize shame

Any combination of red and white flowers should be avoided as well because they represent blood and bandages

The Romans extended the tradition of bouquets to the wearing of garlands and wreaths

Evil spirits could not harm someone inside a circle, so brides wearing wreaths upon their heads were safe

FOOD AND FAMILY

In Egypt, the bride’s family traditionally does all the cooking for a week after the wedding, so the couple can…relax

In South Africa, the parents of both bride and groom traditionally carried fire from their hearths to light a new fire in the newlyweds’ hearth

The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake

The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over

Legend says single women will dream of their future husbands if they sleep with a slice of groom’s cake under their pillows

All the guests should eat some wedding cake to ensure good luck

It is believed that an unmarried male guest who keeps a piece of wedding cake under his pillow as he sleeps will increase his chances of finding a mate. An unmarried bridesmaid who does the same will dream of her future husband

GOOD LUCK AND LUCKY OMENS
Seeing a chimney sweep on your wedding day (in England, it is popular to hire one to ensure good luck)

Seeing lambs

Seeing toads

Seeing rainbows

Tuck a sugar cube into your glove, according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union

The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck

It is held that a final look in the mirror right before the bride leaves her home for the ceremony will bring good luck.

It’s considered good luck for the bride to cry on her wedding day, as this symbolizes that she has shed all her tears and will not have any to shed during her marriage

If you can persuade a cat to eat out of your left shoe one week before the wedding good luck will bless your married life

For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day

BAD LUCK AND UNLUCKY OMENS
A new wife tripping as she enters her home (this is why the groom carries her over the threshold)

Seeing a nun or a monk on the wedding day (because they represent chastity and poverty)

In Victorian times, it was deemed unlucky if a woman married a man whose last name began with the same letter as hers. As was typical of the times, a little rhyme was created to help remember the rule:

“To change the name and not the letter
Is to change for the worse and not the better”

Seeing open graves

If a woman looks in a mirror twice before the ceremony, her luck will tarnish to bad!

Marrying when the hands on the clock are on their way down is bad luck. It`s considered far better to marry between the half hour and the hour, when the hands are moving back up, otherwise, your marriage will always be going downhill

Seeing pigs

Hearing a rooster crow after dawn

 

HALLOWEEN SUPERSTITIONS
If you hear foot steps behind you on this night, don’t look back. It may be the dead following you. Turning back could mean that you will soon join the dead.

Girls who carry a lamp to a spring of water on this night can see their future husband in the reflection.

Girls who carry a broken egg in a glass to a spring of water (during the day) can not only see their future husband by mixing some of the spring water into the glass, but she can also see a glimpse of her future children.

An old tradition was that girls should go into a field and there scatter the seed of hemp. While they did so they chanted “Hempseed I sow thee Come after me and show me”. Upon suddenly turning round, it was declared that each girl would see a vision of the man who would be her husband.

Bobbing for Apples – Each member of the party is given an apple, from which a small piece has been cut, and into which a fortune written on a slip of paper has been inserted. The apples are thrown into a large tub of water and the company invited to duck their heads and retrieve an apple with their mouths. Upon doing so they draw out the slip of paper and read their fortune.

To find out of your lover is true. select one of the letters which you have received from your sweetheart, especially one which contains a particularly passionate and important declaration; lay it wide open upon a table and then fold it nine times. Pin the folds together, place the letter in your left-hand glove, and slip it under your pillow. If on that night you dream of silver, gems, glass, castles or clear water, your lover is true and his declarations are genuine; if you dream of linen, storms, fire, wood, flowers, or he is saluting you, he is false and has been deceiving you.

Mashed potatoes offer a method of divining who will be the first to wed. Into the heap of mashed potatoes a ring, a three penny-bit, a button, a heart-shaped charm, a shell and a key are inserted. Then all the lights in the room are turned out, and each guest, armed with a spoon or fork, endeavors to find the hidden charms. The one who finds the ring win marry first; the three penny-bit signifies wealth; the button, bachelorhood or spinsterhood; the heart, passionate love; the shell, long journeys; the key, great success and power.

The old Celtic custom was to light great bonfires on Halloween, and after these had burned out to make a circle of the ashes of each fire. Within this circle, and near the circumference, each member of the various families that had helped to make a fire would place a pebble. If, on the next day, any stone was out of its place, or had been damaged, it was held to be an indication that the one to whom the stone belonged would die within twelve months.

Halloween derives its name from the fact that in the Christian calendar it occurs the day before ‘All Saints’ or All Hallows’ Day. It was the last night of the old year according to the ancient calendar of the Celts. On that night it was said that the witches, hobgoblins, warlocks, and other evil spirits walked abroad and devoted themselves to wicked revels. But the good fairies, too, according to some folklore, made their appearance at this time, but only from the hour of dusk until midnight.

If a bat flies into a house it is a sign that ghosts are about and maybe the ghost let the bat in

If bats come out early and fly around playfully, then it is a sign of good weather to come.

If a bat flies around a house 3 times, it is a death omen.

Peel an apple from top to bottom. The person with the longest unbroken peel would be assured the longest life. If you threw the apple peel over your shoulder, the initial it forms upon landing is the initial of your future mate.

When bobbing for apples, it is believed that the first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry.

If you go to a crossroads at Halloween and listen to the wind, you will learn all the most important things that will befall you during the next twelve months.

A person born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits

To prevent ghosts coming into the house at Halloween, bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near the doorway.

If a girl puts a sprig of rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, she will see her future husband in a dream.

In Britain, people believed that the Devil was a nut-gatherer. At Halloween, nuts were used as magic charms.

Many people used to believe that owls swooped down to to eat the souls of the dying. If they heard an owl hooting, they would become frightened. A common remedy was thought to be, turning your pockets inside out and you would be safe

Some believe if you catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it into a flat dish, in the morning you will see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail’s slime

You should walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits

Knocking on wood keeps bad luck away

If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you

If you ring a bell on Halloween, it will scare evil spirits away

In North America, it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In Britain and Ireland, it’s the opposite.

If a candle flame suddenly turns blue, there’s a ghost nearby

 

NEW YEARS SUPERSTITIONS
Empty pockets or empty cupboards on New Years Eve portend a year of poverty

If the first person to cross the threshold of a house after midnight on New Years is a dark-haired man and he carries a shovel full of coal, then a year of good luck will follow.

Its bad luck to let a fire go out on New Year’s Eve

You could ensure yourself good fortune by draining the last dregs from a bottle of drink on New Years!

The Weather – If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamities. If the wind blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there’s no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.

Loud Noise – Make as much noise as possible at midnight to scare away evil spirits.

Letting the Old Year Out: At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.

To dance in the open air, especially round a tree, on New Year’s Day is declared to ensure luck in love and prosperity and freedom from ill health during the coming twelve months.

Children born on New Year’s Day bring great fortune and prosperity to all the household.

On New Year’s Day if, on rising, a girl should look out of her bedroom window and see a man passing by, she may reckon to be married before the year is finished.

Clocks should be wound up immediately the New Year begins in order to endow the house with good fortune, while all daily cleaning and dusting should be completed early in the day of December 31 in order to avoid the danger of sweeping good luck from the house.

Breakage – Avoid breaking things on that first day lest wreckage be part of your year. Also, avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next twelve months

Money – Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year’s Day. To do so is to guarantee you’ll be paying out all year.

New Clothes – Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.

Work – Make sure to do — and be successful at — something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don’t go near your place of employment that day. Limit your activity to a token amount, though, because to engage in a serious work project on that day is very unlucky.

Black-Eyed Peas – A tradition common to the Southern part of the United States says that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and money in particular to the one doing the dining

A person who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, and then place the basket just outside the front door before midnight. After midnight, the lone celebrant hauls in his catch, being careful to bring the item across the doorjamb by pulling the string rather than by reaching out to retrieve it and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.

Nothing Goes Out – Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you have presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin. Some people soften this rule by saying it’s okay to remove things from the home on New Year’s Day, provided that something else has been brought in first.

Just as the clock strikes twelve the head of the house should open the door in order to allow the Old Year to pass out and the New Year to come in.

Kissing at midnight – To ensure that those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To not do this would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.

Stocking Up – The New Year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the place to guarantee a prosperous year.

Paying Off Bills – The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.

First Footing – The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household.

First Footing – The first footer should knock and be let in rather than just using a key. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out.

First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle

Squint-eyed, flat-footed, or red-haired men bring bad luck If they are first-footers, and so does a woman. But a man with a high instep, or one who comes on a horse, is considered particularly lucky.

Don’t breathe in when driving past a cemetery

There are a lot of old wives tales about cemetery’s and the dead, but one of the most persistent is the old wives tale that says you must hold your breath when you drive past a cemetery or you’ll breathe in the spirit of someone who died and was buried there recently

There is a similar old wives tale that says you shouldn’t step on a grave, but if you should have to you should walk quickly and hold your breath so that you do not inhale the spirit of the person in the grave

A drowned woman floats face up, a drowned man floats face down

A person cannot drown before going under three times

Smell dandelions, wet the bed

Good Friday – The Friday before Easter is Good Friday. If someone dies on Good Friday, they will go directly to Heaven

Jogging – You shouldn’t jog. It jumbles up your insides

Knitting – Placing the needles in the balls of yarn will bring bad luck to anyone who used the item that yarn is used to make

Leaves – If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of fall, you will not get sick that whole winter

Onions – If you make a wish over burning onions, it will come true

Pencil – Use the same pencil for taking a test as was used for studying for the same test. The pencil will remember the answers

Scissors – Dropping a pair of scissors means that your lover is seeing someone behind your back

Thirteen – Thirteen is just an unlucky number in general

Veil – Bride’s wear veils due to the ancient belief that this will protect them from jealous evil spirits

Wood – If speaking of good luck, knock on wood three times so evil spirits won’t take it away

X – The lines on the palm of your right hand that show an “X” represent the number of children you will have

See a penny, pick it up. All day long you will have good luck

Don’t pick up a penny that is face down ( tails up )It will only bring bad luck

People thought kids would get polio if they played in the mud puddles after a rain

If you accidentally swallow a cat or dog hair it will become a worm in your tummy

Kissing toads give you warts

If you plant a cedar tree then when the shade from the tree is big enough to completely cover a grave you will die.

Don’t to whistle in the house (or barn) because it would call the devil

If you eat in the bathroom you invite the devil to dine on your soul

When you put the pillowcases on your pillows, the opening should never face a door – otherwise evil spirits will be able to slip into the pillowcase

Speak of the Devil, and he will come

If you give someone a wallet or purse, you have to put money in it (even one coin is Okay)

Don’t wake up a sleepwalker or they will go mad

Every time you say something that could curse someone but you didn’t mean it, you have to spit the badness away

Never give a friend or loved one a knife as a present or it will “cut” your friendship

Don’t put your new shoes on the table or they will forever hurt your feet.

Always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.

Don’t joke about something going wrong, because it will

Don’t talk about something going right… You’ll jinx it

Never, ever mention having extra money while in the car. You’re sure to need a repair within the week.

 

SAYINGS

I Can Feel It in My Bones

A big wife and a big barn will never do a man any harm

A clean conscience makes a soft pillow

A merry companion is music on a journey

A poor excuse is better than none at all

A stitch and time saves 9

A wife that does not know how to keep house throws out more with a teaspoon than a man can bring in with a shovel

A little too late is much too late

A good deed is never lost

A smile is worth a thousand words

A person who gets all wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package

A false friend and a shadow stay only while the sun shines

All is fair in love and war, but friendship there is truth

A word of praise is equal to ointment on a sore

A chain is as strong as its weakest link

A clock will run without watching it

A man is judged by the company he keeps

A good neighbor, a found treasure

A friend to everyone is a friend to nobody

A man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once

A small leak will sink a great ship

A living dog is better than a dead lion

A woman is as old as she admits.

A man without guts lives on his knees

A man who marries twice is a two-time loser

A woman thinks it takes two to keep a secret

A good lie finds more believers than a bad truth

A man is not better than his conversation

A good name is a second inheritance

A man warned is half saved

A good wife is the best household furniture

A frightened atheist half believes in God

A pebble and a diamond are alike to a blind man

A good cause finds weapons to defend it

A tree is known by its fruit, not by its leaves

A guilty conscience needs no accuser

A false friend is worse than an open enemy

A good word costs n more than a bad one

At the center of climb is “I”

An arrogant bug is a cocky roach

Anger without power is folly

Anytime means no time

A handsome husband is common property

A small body may harbor a great soul.

Arrogance is a roadblock on the highway of wisdom

Adversity makes men; prosperity makes monsters

Believe nothing you hear, half of what you see and only one fourth of what you know to be true

Bad neighbors count a man’s income but not his expenses

Better an hour early and stand and wait than a moment behind time

Better weak beer than lemonade

Better a dollar earned than ten inherited

Beware of a door that has too many keys

Borrowing does well only once

By candlelight every country wench is handsome

Be what you appear to be

Better to ask twice than lose your way once

Better bowlegs than no legs at all

Better to heaven in rags than to hell in embroidery

Be silent and pass for a philosopher

Warm hands, cold heart

Cold hands, warm heart

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor

Corruption finds a dozen alibis for its evil deeds

Cowards die daily, the brave but once

Concealed knowledge is buried treasure

Don’t live it up so high that you can’t lie it down

Don’t dare kiss an ugly girl, she’ll tell the world about it

Don’t taste every man’s soup, you’ll burn your mouth

Doctor’s faults are covered with earth and rich mien’s with money

Even a fish wouldn’t get caught if he kept his mouth shut

Every donkey thinks itself worthy of standing with the king’s horses

Even the devil was an angel in the beginning

Even the devil will swear on a stack of bibles

Every slip is not a fall

Envy is the sincerest form of flattery

Every family has at least one black sheep

Every man judges others by himself

Every man knows best when his own shoe pinches

Every path has a puddle

Every mother’s child is handsome

Every age explodes old errors and creates new ones

Early ripe, early rotten

Every field looks green from a distance, even a cemetery

Everybody lays his load on the willing horse

Fate is the course when men fail to act

Fools use bets for arguments

Figures never lie, but liars can figure

First deserve it, and then desire it

Fortune and misfortune are next-door neighbors

Good actions speak for themselves; they need no tin horn

God gives food but does not cook it

Guilty men see guilt written on the faces of saints

Good health is above wealth

Gross negligence is equal to intentional wrong

Great possessions are great cares

He who laughs last, laughs longest

He who rides slowly gets just as far, only it takes longer

He who never fails will never grow rich

He who hears forgets, he who sees remembers, he who does learns

Hearsay is half lies

He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief

He who follows the crowd has many companions

He who has no enemy has no friend

Honest doubt is better than faith in a pious fraud

He doubles his gift who gives in time

He who excuses himself, accuses himself

He that falls in love with himself will find no rival

If you come to the end of your rope — tie a knot in it and hang on

It takes pennies to make dollars

It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all those that follow

If you are always dwelling in trouble, change your address

If the stone hits you, I threw it

In trying times, don’t quit trying

If a race could be won after the first gallop, thousands would wear blue ribbons

It is a waste of gunpowder to fire at the man-in-the-moon

It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice

It is better to bend than break

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride

It is better to be a has-been than a never-was

“IF’s” and “But’s” butter no bread

If you can’t take advice, you can’t be helped

If there were no fools in the world, all people would agree on everything

If you hate storm and strife lead a bachelor’s life

It takes a good many shovelfuls to bury the truth

It’s easy to be generous with another man’s money

It’s easier to go down than up

It’s easier to lose faith than to find it again

It’s better to be happy than wise

If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday

If you wish another to keep your secret, keep it first yourself

It is better to have a hen tomorrow than an egg today

Joy is not in things, it is in us

Judges should have two ears, both alike

Lost time is never found

Little minds still are little, even when they are made professors

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed

Life goes on, no matter what we try to do to it

Life is like a grindstone, whether it grinds him down or polishes him depends on the stuff he is made of

Living is like licking honey off a thorn

Listen at the keyhole and you’ll hear news of yourself

Life is a game played with marked cards

Lawyers, like painters, can easily change white to black

Laughter is worth a hundred groans in any market

Lend your money and lose your friend

Liberty, like charity, must begin at home

Liars and gossips are Siamese twins

Living in worry invites death in a hurry

Let thy maid-servant be faithful, strong and homely

Make the house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy

Men who talk like big wheels usually are merely spokes men

Many love triangles are really wreck tangles

Man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once

Marry a handsome man and you marry trouble

Must is a hard nut to crack

Modesty is like the snow; when it melts it is gone forever

Many a pearl is still hidden in the oyster

Many persons think they are wise, when they are only windy

No matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water

Nothing dries faster than a tear

Nothing is gained by having one donkey call another “Long Ears!”

Never stop the plough to catch a mouse

No piper ever suited all ears

New churches and new bars are well patronized

Necessity sharpens industry

Naked men never lose anything

No man tells the truth about himself, only his neighbors do

Nonsense charms the multitude; plain sense is despised

One who thinks he can live without others is mistaken but he who thinks others cannot live without him are more mistaken

Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest ones, “It might have been”

One eyewitness is better than ten hearsay

One murder makes a villain, millions make a hero

One does not put beauty in a kettle

One can learn even from an enemy

One has only to die to be praised

Obstinacy is the strength of the weak

Overdone is worse than underdone

Poverty is no disgrace but decidedly inconvenient

Punctuality is the key to success

Peace without truth is poison

Put the light out and all women are alike

Promises won’t butter any bread

Pleasant hours fly fast

Put your trust not in money but your money in trust

Poets and pigs are appreciated only after their death

Rest is sweet when one has earned it

Rich get richer and poor get children

Religion is the best armor but the worst cloak

Relatives are friends from bitter necessity

Reparations is what you are in the light; character is what you are in the dark

Revolutions are vices when they fail; they are virtues when successful

Self praise is half slander

Silence is consent

Spend your money as you go with shoes worn down at heel and toe

Search others for their virtues, and yourself for your vices

Self-defense is nature’s oldest law

Sickness comes in haste and goes at leisure

Swallows and sparrows cannot understand the ambitions of swans

Some people have tact, others tell the truth

Speak the truth and embarrass the devil

She that is born a beauty is half married

Small talk is sufficient for little men

Small men imitate; great men originate

Together we stick; divided we are stuck

Things turn up for the man who digs

The smart man knows how little he really knows

The person who thinks too little usually talks too much

The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s back every day

They that have no other meat, bread and butter, they are glad to eat

To act is easy to think is hard

Trouble comes when the New Year’s resolutions collide with the old year’s habits

The second million is always easier than the first

Today is that tomorrow you thought about yesterday

Truth is the best advocate

Tell me whom you associate with and I will tell you who you are

The remedy is often worse than the disease

The ugliest girl makes the best housewife

Truth is the opinion that survives

The best patch is of the same cloth

There is no rule without it’s exception

The belly hates a long sermon

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics

The old forget the young don’t know

The drunken mouth reveals the heart’s secrets

There is no head so holy that the devil does not make a nest in it

There is no one so rich that he does not still want more

The wise man has long ears, big eyes and a short tongue

The stable wears out a horse more than a road

The worst use that can be made of success is to boast of it

Until tomorrow, equality is elusive

Vanity is a sixth sense

Victory belongs to the most persevering

Vows made in storms are forgotten in calms

Visits should be short, like a winter’s day

We shall be judged not by what we might have done, but by what we have been

When the well is dry, you know the worth of water

What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for others?

When one has seen the bear in the woods, he hears his growl in every bush

Wedlock is a padlock

Weeds need no sowing

Woman is a mystery to men but are wise to each other

You can’t anymore give away something you ain’t got than you can come back from someplace you haven’t been

You never know the length of a snake until it is dead

You can’t tell the depth of the well by the length of the handle on the pump

You can’t put out old heads on young shoulders

Zeal is blind when it encroaches upon the rights of others

Morning is welcome to the industrious

Do a little well and you do much

Gold is the dust that blinds all eyes

If you are in debt, somebody owns a part of you

A bad broom leaves a dirty room

Plain words make the most ornamental sentences

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry a hundred

They must hunger in frost who will not work in heat

A cracked plate will last as long as a sound one

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap

Envy shoots at others but hits itself

Water run by will does not turn a mill

There is a difference between profanity and dramatic fervor

Merit is superior to birth and virtue is not hereditary

Every pea helps to fill the pod

One watch set right will do to set many by

Children and fools tell the truth

Little children step on one’s lap; tall ones tread on one’s heart

He who rides slowly gets just as far, only it takes a little longer

Bad breath is better than no breath at all

Don’t worry when you stumble Remember, a worm is the only thing that can’t fall down

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but rising every time we fail

Quarreling is the weapon of the weak

People give nothing so willingly as advice

The smaller the waistline the longer the life

Too many square meals make too many round people

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it should remind all of us, not to criticize the rest of us

The beard does not make the philosopher

When you feel all steamed up, remember the tea kettle — it is always up to its neck in hot water and it still sings

You can’t make cookies when you haven’t got the dough

One had better have no dealings with girls with fat legs

DEATH OMENS

A bird in the house is a sign of a death If a robin flies into a room through a window, death will shortly follow

Light candles on the night after November 1, one for each deceased relative should be placed in the window in the room where death occurred

If a picture falls and lands face down, someone will die

Never leave a rocking chair rocking or someone will die

If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family

You will have bad luck if you do not stop the clock in the room where someone dies

If a woman is buried in black, she will return to haunt the family

If a dead person’s eyes are left open, he’ll find someone to take with him

Mirrors in a house with a corpse should be covered or the person who sees himself will die next

Dogs howling in the dark of night, Howl for death before daylight

If you dream of death it’s a sign of a birth, if you dream of birth, it’s a sign of death. If you touch a loved one who has died, you won’t have dreams about them

A person who dies on Good Friday will go right to heaven

A person who dies at midnight on Christmas Eve will go straight to heaven because the gates of heaven are open at that time

All windows should be opened at the moment of death so that the soul can leave. The soul of a dying person can’t escape the body and go to heaven if any locks are locked in the house

If the left eye twitches there will soon be a death in the family. If a dead person’s eyes are left open, he’ll find someone to take with him

Funerals on Friday portend another death in the family during the year

It’s bad luck to count the cars in a funeral cortege

It’s bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on

Thunder following a funeral means that the dead person’s soul has reached heaven

Nothing new should be worn to a funeral, especially new shoes

Pointing at a funeral procession will cause you to die within the month

Pregnant women should not attend funerals

Don’t talk about a dream of death on Sunday morning or the dream will come true

If the person buried lived a good life, flowers will grow on the grave. If the person was evil, weeds will grow

If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die soon

A white moth inside the house or trying to enter the house means death

If 3 people are photographed together, the one in the middle will die first

If 13 people sit down at a table to eat, one of them will die before the year is over

Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house

If you dream of falling and hit the ground before you wake up, you will die

 

THE BODY

THE EYES

Are the ‘windows to the soul’ and the color leads to differing beliefs

Dark blue eyes = delicate and refined souls;

Light blue or grey eyes = strong and healthy ones;

Green eyes = hardy souls; Hazel eyes = vigorous, deep-thinking folk

Itching eyes: if the right eye tickles, it’s lucky, and vice versa. Theocritus has it, ‘My right eye itches now and I shall see my love’

‘Trust not the man whose eyebrows meet, For in his heart you’ll find deceit’

If you look at someone cross-eyed and a wind blows, you’ll stay like that
Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stick that way

THE EARS

My ears are burning, someone is talking about me

Small ears denote a delicate character

Thick ears a person of a sensual/coarse nature

Thin, angular ears = a bad temper;

Long or prominent ears = a person with musical inclinations

The larger the ear lobes, the greater the intellect

Ears ringing mean someone is talking (thinking) about you

If your right ear itches, someone is saying something nice about you. If it’s the left, someone’s saying something bad about you

THE NOSE – This is how you tell the character of a man

Prominent noses = intelligence and determination;

Thin noses = jealousy and uncertainty;

Receding noses = bad temper and obstinacy;

Tip-tilted noses = bright and lively characters

There is said to be a connection between the size of a person’s nose and their sexual organs

THE NOSE – For Everyone

A tickling nose (Britain) = a fight or an important communication or (America) a kiss

Itchy Nose – It’s still said that if your nose itches, a fool is about to kiss you or you will have a fight

If your nose itches, you will soon get a visitor. Right nostril indicates a female visitor, left nostril indicates male visitor

THE LIPS
Itch or tingle when someone is about to kiss you

If you bite your tongue while you are eating then you have recently told a lie

A large gap between the teeth = lucky in life;

Large teeth = physical strength;

Small, regular teeth = careful and methodical in your habits

It is not good for a child to be born with any teeth showing

Never eat anything when a funeral bell is tolling or toothache will follow

Crush up strawberries into a paste and rub it on your teeth to whiten them.

HAIR

A sudden loss of hair is unlucky, forecasting a decline in health, loss of property or failure in business, or the death of a closely related child

Red hair is associated with fiery-tempered people (e.g. Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I)

Black and dark brown hair indicates strength; fair hair implies timidity

Your hair grows faster in the summer than in the winter

If you pull out a gray hair 10 more will grow back in its place

On a man, if the hair grows low on the forehead and back above the temples he will have a long life;

If a woman’s hair grows in a low point on her forehead (‘widow’s peak’) she will outlive her husband

If a woman suddenly develops curls on her forehead her man has not long to live

Lank hair = a cunning nature;

Curly hair = good nature, full of fun;

Long hair = strength (e.g. Samson) and luck

It is said to be unlucky to have your hair cut when the moon is in the wane as this will cause it to fall out and lose its luster

Cutting your own hair will tempt fate

To determine your future: set fire to some strands of your hair – cut them off first! If they burn brightly, you are in for a long life. If they splutter and smolder, it is said to be a death omen

Never pull out grey hairs, for one will be replaced by ten. It has often been believed that a sudden fright can turn hair white

THE HAND

The right hand is lucky and the

Left unlucky because the Devil is supposed to have sat on the left-hand side of God before being cast out of heaven

Kings of England are said to have had the power to ‘heal by touch’

Fingernails – Cutting your nails on Friday or Sunday is bad luck. Fingernail clippings should be saved, burned, or buried to prevent bad luck

When your left palm itches, it means money coming into your pocket; when your right palm itches, it means money going out of your pocket

The hand of an executed criminal, cut from his body while still on the gallows, was said to have healing powers as well as providing its owners with the ability to commit crime and robbery without fear of detection by stupefying all those who saw it

Large, thick hands = strength of character

Small, slender hands = weak and timid character

Long hands = ingenious nature

Short ones = careless and foolish nature

Hard hands = rudeness; Soft hands = wit

Hairy hands = a person who likes luxury

A damp hand = an amorous disposition; while ‘a cold hand means a warm heart’.

If the palm of your right hand itches you will receive money;

If the left palm, you will lose some (‘left, lose; right, receive’).

Two people should never wash their hands together in the same water – this will lead to a quarrel between them

Crossed fingers (imitating the sign of the cross) wards off bad luck

Long fingers = artistic

Short, thick fingers = intemperate and silly

A crooked little finger = omen of wealth

The first finger (the ‘poison finger’) should never be used to administer medicines

The third finger (the ‘wedding’ finger) is said to be linked directly to the heart

It is unlucky to cut fingernails on a Friday or Sunday

Specks on the nails:

Yellow = death

Black = ill-luck

White = good fortune to come

If a woman cuts the nails of her right hand with her left hand she will have the upper hand in marriage

THE FEET

An itching foot = a journey to somewhere new;

Flat feet = bad temper;

Do not enter a building left foot first, to avoid bad luck

Girls hold our feet up when you go over the railroad tracks or you will never get married.

MOLES AND DIMPLES

Left hand side of the body = unlucky

Those on the right = lucky’

On the face (especially chin or neck) = wealth

On the chest and stomach = strength

A mole on the nose = great lechery

A mole on a woman’s thigh = unfaithful, and a great spendthrift

A girl with a mole on her breast will be irresistible

A hairy chest = masculinity

‘Dimple on the chin – Devil within’

A wart is said to be the mark of the Devil and is unlucky

SNEEZING

It is believed when you sneeze your soul will momentarily leave your body

Sneeze ‘once for a wish, twice for a kiss, three for a letter, four for something better’

In Scotland, a newborn child is said to remain under ‘the fairy spells’ until it has sneezed for the first time

It was also believed that an idiot could not sneeze, so that a child’s first sneeze was important

If you sneeze when talking you are telling the truth (America);

Three sneezes before breakfast means you will receive a present during the day (Germany);

Any sneeze is an indication that someone, somewhere, is saying nice things about you (Japan)

It is very lucky to sneeze at exactly the same time as someone else you are with

COUGHING

Meant the unexpected entry of a devil into a person who had been telling lies or carrying out misdemeanors of some kind

HICCUPS

Are caused by someone who dislikes you complaining to someone else

The only way to stop them is to guess the name of the person maligning you

YAWNING

Can lead to evil spirits entering the body unless you cover your mouth with your hand

It is a sign that Death is calling to you, and you must snap your second finger and thumb (American Indian)

A SHIVER

Means that someone is walking over your (eventual) grave

LAUGH

Before breakfast and it will end in tears before supper;

To laugh excessively shows that the person is possessed and that his days are numbered

 

CLOTHING

BODY JEWELLERY

Prevents evil spirits from entering the body by one of the five orifices

Wearing earrings and painting the lips were talismans to keep devils away

Emeralds = unlucky because they were used in the East for the eyes of religious figures and consequently became the target of robbers

Opals = unlucky; although 13th century alchemist Albertus Magnus maintained that an opal wrapped in bay leaves made its wearer invisible

Pearls = once believed to be unlucky; in medieval times they were thought to be ‘solidified tears’

Diamonds = the best of all good luck bringers, possessing the power to drive off witches and prevent the wearer from ever going insane

GLOVES

It is unlucky to drop your glove and pick it up yourself;

If someone else does it, good fortune will follow for both of you

CLOTHING PUT ON INSIDE OUT:

It is lucky to put on an item of clothing inside out, although you must not change it until the time you would normally take it off, for the luck to hold

BUTTON UP

It has always been unlucky to hook or button up any item of clothing wrongly (start all over again if you do);

Just as you should never put your left arm, leg or foot into anything first

UNDERWEAR

If a girl’s bra or pants should suddenly slip down this is a sign that someone who loves her is thinking of her;

If two or more holes should appear in any of these items then tradition says the owner can expect a gift very shortly

Any girl wearing suspenders who finds that her stocking slips from the clasp three times can take it she is in for an unlucky day,

But if stockings on the washing line curl round each other it is an omen that the owner may expect great happiness before long

Garters have always been regarded as lucky, and many a girl has slept with one under her pillow on Midsummer Eve in the hope of dreaming of her future husband

Any young girl anxious for a husband should get a garter worn recently by a married woman and put it on her own leg;

A girl who puts Valerian in her underwear will prove irresistible to men (Wales)

It used to be very lucky for brides to be married wearing no underwear under her wedding gown

Well into the nineteenth century a new husband became liable for any debts previously incurred by his bride but, if the girl went to the altar wearing no more than her dress, any creditor would forgive the loan. Such ceremonies were known as ‘smock’ weddings’

HANDKERCHIEF

Tying a knot in a handkerchief to remember something signifies a very ancient belief that that the knot was a charm against evil. Any demon nearby will be so intrigued by the shape that all thoughts of interfering with you will go from his head

HAT

Putting your hat on back to front will result in a bad day;

A woman who puts on a man’s hat is giving a sign that she wants to be kissed (America)

SHOE

Lucky, hence the custom of tying an old boot to the back of the car of a couple who have just got married

Shoes on the table is symbolic of hanging

Shoes left crossed on the floor or put on the wrong feet brings bad luck

Walking anywhere with one shoe on could lead to the death of one of your parents

A shoelace which comes undone as you set off on a venture is unlucky

If you tie someone else’s shoe laces up you should make a wish as it is lucky

NEW CLOTHES

Always slip a small coin into the right-hand pocket of a new suit or dress, to avoid being hard up when you wear that item of clothing.

It is lucky to wear a new item of clothing on Easter Day, as everything old and dirty should be renewed

UMBRELLA
If an umbrella is dropped on the floor of a house, someone in that house is going to die shortly

HOME

Houses have either a warm and friendly atmosphere or one that is cold and depressing. It has nothing to do with how long the house has stood (new or old); nor whether it’s well-heated or not. The atmosphere stems from the ‘spirit of the house’ whose personality governs whether the house is lucky or unlucky

 

GIFTS FOR THE HOUSE

Bread and salt (German)

BELL
It’s been said that the bells provide protection from demons as they are scared of the loud noise

DOOR
Horseshoe, with points upwards to stop the luck from running out

It’s believed that leaving a house through any door other than the one that is used to enter the house is bad luck

It is unlucky to enter the house for the first time by the back door, as this entrance is not protected against evil spirits

Encourage visitors to leave by the same door they came in to avoid taking the owner’s luck with them

The opening of a door of its own accord indicates that a visitor is on the way,

Whilst a slamming door may damage the ‘spirit of the house’ and should be avoided

Leave a door open when a child is being born or someone is dying, so that the entry or exit may take place without hindrance

COOKING

When any food is mixed it should be stirred clockwise,

As all functions of importance should be performed in an east to west direction (old belief in sun-worship)

Leave a tray or a cooking utensil in the oven when not in use (old Jewish), for the time may come when the owner has nothing to place in it

Never waste leftover morsels of pastry or dough from making bread or cakes, or the whole baking will be ruined

Loaves marked with a cross protects them from evil

When baking bread, remember
‘She that pricks bread with fork or knife;
Will never be a happy maid or wife’

A loaf that splits open while it is in the oven warns of a death to come in the family;

A loaf with a hollow center presages a death;

It is unlucky to turn a loaf upside down after cutting the first slice for this will cause the head of the household to fall ill;

If a loaf crumbles in your hand as you are cutting it there is going to be a quarrel before very long;

Drop a slice of buttered bread butter side up and a visitor will arrive

EGGS

When you have finished your boiled egg, crush the shell or push the spoon through the bottom to avoid bad luck
Do not bring eggs into the house after dark as it is bad luck

Painting eggs red at Easter is seen as good luck, as it is the color of blood and life

SALT
Later beliefs had it that evil spirits dwelt on the left-hand side of the body and so began the custom of throwing spilt salt over your left shoulder (and into their eyes)

Salt is often given to newborn babies for luck

Country folk often carry a little bag of salt on their person to bring them luck in their dealings (Britain, Europe)

If spilled salt is carefully picked and thrown into the fire, this will dry up the tears otherwise shed (America)

TEA
To stir the teapot anti-clockwise will stir up a quarrel

If two women pour from the same pot one of them will have a baby within a year

UTENSILS
Crossing two knives is bad luck

If you are given a present of a knife, give a coin in return to avoid ‘cutting’ the friendship

Drop a butter knife and company’s coming

‘Let the superstitious wife
Near the child’s heart lay a knife
Point be up, and haft be down,
While she gossips in the town
This amongst other mystic charms
Keeps the sleeping child from harms(Robert Herrick)

To drop a fork means a woman will visit

To drop a knife means a man will visit

To drop a spoon means a child will visit

If you drop a fork on the floor it means you’ll get money

APRON

Accidentally put one on inside out = lucky

If it falls off suddenly for no apparent reason = unlucky (Europe)

If a man’s wipes his hands on a woman’s apron he will soon fall in love with her

By contrast, members of the opposite sex should never dry themselves on the same towel as this will invariably lead to a quarrel between them

WASHING UP

If you break a plate or cup you can expect another breakage before the end of the day unless you deliberately smash some other small item to avoid the bad luck

An English country superstition says that it is bad luck to throw any water out of the house after nightfall

‘They that wash on Monday, have the whole week to dry
They that wash on Tuesday are not so much awry
They that wash on Wednesday will get their clothes so clean
They that wash on Thursday are not so much to mean
They that wash on Friday, wash for their need
But they that wash on Saturdays are dirty folks indeed’

To drop a dishcloth means bad luck is coming

DINING TABLE

When rising from the table take care not to upset your chair, for this is a sign that you have lied at some time during your conversation

Anyone who lies down on a table will die within a year;

Any engaged girl who sits on a table while talking to her fiancé risks losing him;

It is unlucky to change your position at the table after a place has been allocated to you;

To place your chair back against the wall or fold your napkin after a meal at a friend’s home will prevent you ever visiting there again (America)

FIREPLACE

A fire that roars up the chimney = an omen of an argument or a storm;

Sparks clinging to the back of the chimney are a sign of important news in the offing;

A sudden fall of soot presages bad weather or a disaster of some kind

Coal (a symbol of fire) is lucky and small pieces were often carried in the pocket

MIRRORS AND LOOKING-GLASSES

To break one will result in seven years bad luck

STAIRCASE

It is unlucky to pass anyone on the stairs (cross your fingers if you do so)

Stumbling on the staircase is said to be a good omen and may indicate a wedding in the household before long

UPSTAIRS

Do not sing in bath as this will lead to sorrow before evening;

Any young girl who persistently splashes herself or her clothes when washing will end up with a husband who is a drunk

Get out of bed the right side

The left-hand side is associated with the Devil

But, if you can’t avoid it, put your right sock and shoe on first

You will always get the best night’s sleep if your bed is positioned in a north-south direction with your head to the south – this will ensure a long life

To be rich, point your head to the east; to travel widely, the west. It is unlucky to put a hat on the bed (America)

HOUSEWORK

China ornaments of animals should never be placed so that they face a door for they will allow the luck to run out of the house

It is unlucky to sweep any dust or waste material directly out of the house, as this will carry the good luck with it

Sweep such waste into the center of the room, collect it up in a pan and then carry the lot out of doors to avoid any repercussions

A new broom should always be used the first time to sweep something into the house, to symbolize luck

Never buy any new brush in May; as the Romans decreed May to be the month of death:

‘If you buy a broom or brush in May
You’ll sweep the head of the household away’

 

ANIMAL SUPERSTITIONS

ALBATROSS

In the days of sail, an albatross flying round a ship in mid-ocean was an omen of wind and bad weather to come

It was very unlucky to kill it because it was thought to embody the restless soul of some dead mariner

ANT

Stepping on ants brings rain

Ants signify bad weather when they are very agitated

An ant building a nest near the door to your house is a clear sign of financial security in the future

BAT

A bat means long life and happiness, a good omen (China and Poland)

If a bat lands on your head, you should hope the Cricket sees rain coming because the bat won’t get off until it hears thunder

When you see a bat, you might actually be seeing the Devil, a witch, a ghost, or Dracula

It is considered bad luck to kill one. If one flies past you then watch out for someone is trying to deceive you

If a bat flies three times around a house, it is a death omen

Conversely, when bats come out early and fly about playfully, it is a sign of good weather to come

BEAR

Bears only mate once every seven years and when they do they cause such a disturbance in the atmosphere that any pregnant cattle in the district will give birth to still-born calves (American backwoodsmen)

BEE

It is an ill omen to give away a hive:

Bees must be sold for a fair price commensurate with their worth; and

They should never be moved from one place to another without being told beforehand

If they become lazy it is said that there will be a disaster shortly, and

Should they suddenly swarm on a bush or tree there will be a death nearby

Bees can tell whether a girl is pure or not, and that any girl whose family has a hive and who is about to be married should inform the bees before doing so if she wants a long and happy marriage

If she wants to make doubly sure of their blessing, she will leave a piece of wedding cake outside the hive for their enjoyment

If a bee enters your home, it’s a sign that you will soon have a visitor

Considered unlucky in some places to kill a bee

A bee landing on someone’s hand is believed to foretell money to come,

While if the bee settles on someone’s head it means that person will rise to greatness

They were once considered to deliberately sting those who swore in front of them,

And also to attack an adulterer or unchaste person;

It was once held to be a sure sign that a girl was a virgin if she could walk through a swarm of bees without being stung

Bees cannot prosper in an atmosphere of anger or hatred, and will either pine away and die, or fly away

There is still a common belief that bees should be told about deaths that occur in the beekeepers

A borrowed swarm or one given freely is more likely to do well;

A stock of bees was often started from a borrowed swarm on the understanding that it would be returned if the giver was ever in need of it

Bee-stings were once thought to prevent rheumatism, and in some places a bee-sting was also thought to cure it

BIRDS

A bird that flies into a house, foretells an important message

The white bird foretells death

A bird call from the north means tragedy

A bird call from the south is good for crops

A bird call from the west is good luck

A bird call from the east, good love

If a bird poops on your car, it is good luck

Blackbirds
Should a blackbird nest anywhere in your house then you can look forward to a year of good fortune

If two male blackbirds are seen sitting together this is a very good omen

Ducks and geese
Ducks and geese indicate wind and rain on the way when they hiss and quack more than usual

A duck that lays dun-colored eggs is very ill-omened and should be destroyed, according to an old English belief

If one goose flies around the house it is said to know that death is on the way

Kingfisher
Carry some of Kingfisher’s feathers on your person is both a protection and a charm for good fortune

Magpie
The best way to avoid bad luck when you pass a magpie is to doff your hat (England)

It was the only bird not to enter the Ark, preferring to remain on its own outside

It is also held in awe because it is one of the very few wild creatures that is colored black and white – a combination of the Devil’s color and the sacred or holy color of white

In England, magpies are also counted, ‘One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy; five for sorrow, six for gold, seven is a secret never to be told, eight is a wish, nine is a kiss and ten is the bird you must not miss

Owls
Hearing the hoot of an owl is now associated with bad luck

To counter evil owl power put irons in your fire. Or throw salt, hot peppers or vinegar into the fire, the owl will get a sore tongue, hoot no more, and no one close to you will be in trouble

When you hear an owl, take off your clothes, turn them inside out and put them back on

Any man who eats roasted owl will be obedient and a slave to his wife

Peacocks
Never bring a peacock feather indoors for decoration as they are unlucky

The peacock is another indicator of rain, signaling its approach with a harsh crying call

Pigeons
A lone white pigeon perching on a chimney is said to be a death omen

It was claimed that pigeon feathers in such a bed only prolonged the agonies of someone dying

Raven
An ill-omened bird, able to predict the future, particularly death

If the Ravens in the Tower of London should be lost or fly away then the Royal Family will die and Britain will fall to an enemy

The raven is ‘the messenger of death’ (American Indian)

To kill a raven is to harm the spirit of King Arthur who visits the world in the form of a raven

Robin
Make a wish on the first robin you see in spring and it will come true – if you can finish making the wish before the robin flies away

The robin is perhaps the most loved of all wild birds and dire are the omens if you should kill one

Legend has it that it got its distinctive red breast when it tried to pull the bloody thorns from Christ’s head as he hung on the cross

Seagulls
Three seagulls flying together, directly overhead, are a warning of death soon to come

Sparrow
Sparrows carry the souls of the dead; it’s unlucky to kill one

Storks
Storks deliver babies

Storks were sacred to Venus in Roman mythology

If a stork builds a nest on your roof, you have received a blessing and a promise of never ending love from Venus

Swallow
The swallow heralds the arrival of summer

Any house on which it builds its nest is due for good luck, and in particular protection from fire and storm

When they fly low it is a signal for rainy weather

Swan
A swan’s feather, sewed into the husband’s pillow, will ensure fidelity

When one of the birds is dying it sings, thus giving rise to the expression ‘swansong’

When one of them lays its head and neck back over its body during the daytime then a storm is on the way

White Dove
White-winged dove tradition claims it is the one bird into which the Devil cannot transform himself

Among miners it is considered ill-omened and no superstitious miner would go underground after seeing a white dove flying near the pit shaft

BUTTERFLY

If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year

CALF

British White calf the first calf born during the winter is white; the winter will be a bad one

CAT

They believed if a black cat crossed your path, Satan was taking notice of you

A black cat is lucky or unlucky, depending on where you live

Cats were sacred to the goddess, Isis in Egyptian mythology

Bast or Pasht, the daughter of Isis, was represented with the face of a cat. Anyone who killed a cat was put to death

In Egypt it was believed that a black cat crossing one’s path brought good luck

In East Anglia, England, they used to mummify cats and place them in the walls of their homes to ward off evil spirits

If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it

Keep cats away from babies because they “suck the breath” of the child

A cat on board a ship is considered to bring luck

If one sneezes then rain is on the way;

A cat sitting with its back to the fire indicates a storm;

While one sharpening its claws on a table leg are a sign of a change in the weather, usually for the better

CATTLE

In some areas it is thought that cattle should be informed of any deaths in their owners’ household, or the cows, sensing that something was wrong, would sicken and probably die

During medieval times the superstition arose that cattle would kneel at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve;

In some parts of Europe they were also believed to gain the ability to speak on this night, although it was considered dangerous for any human to hear their speech as misfortune would befall anyone who overheard them

It was once considered unlucky if an offer were made to purchase cattle which were not for sale, leading to their illness and perhaps death

In some districts it was also considered unlucky to strike cattle with human hands;

A stick should be used to drive them from place to place, and should be thrown away once the destination was reached

Cattle that stand close together in low ground, and feed hard together, are said to be foretelling rain, but if they stand on high ground the weather will be fair

It was traditional to drive cattle over the embers of the Beltane and Midsummer fires, as a magical protection against cattle plague and other diseases

As recently as the nineteenth century, some farmers would sacrifice one healthy calf or cow (sometimes burying it under the threshold of the byre with feet pointing upwards) as a symbolic sacrifice that the herd might be spared from cattle plague

In India and parts of the East the cow is still regarded as a sacred animal

It is lucky to meet a herd of cows on the road; stems from earlier times when to meet such on the road meant the arrival of a drover with cattle to provide milk or to be sold for meat

In the past, cattle were believed to be one of the prime targets of witches and, apart from the numerous charms developed to protect them, it was the custom if a herd was struck by illness to burn a calf alive because of the maxim ‘burn one to save the herd’

When cows lie on high ground it is said to be a sign of good weather to come, while if they feed too close together or low excessively then rain is imminent. If a cow breaks into your garden then there will be a death in the family

If a plow kills a daddy long legs the cows will go dry

If you see nine cows in a shed with a gray bull next to the door, and all of them lie on the same side, you are in luck, because you will be granted one wish

CRICKET

A cricket is a lucky house spirit that takes its luck away when it leaves

A cricket can tell of oncoming rain, death, and x-lovers

CROW

Crow
One’s bad,
Two’s luck,
Three’s health,
Four’s wealth,
Five’s sickness,
Six is death

DADDY LONG LEGS

If a plow kills a daddy long legs the cows will go dry

DOGS

Greeks thought dogs could foresee evil

If you have your new-born baby licked by a dog, your baby will be a quick healer

Howling dogs mean the wind god has summoned death, and the spirits of the dead will be taken

A howling dog at night means bad luck or somebody close to you will be very sick or worse

A howling dog outside the house of a sick person was once thought to be an omen that they would die, especially if the dog was driven away and returned to howl again

A dog which gives a single howl, or three howls, and then falls silent is said to be marking a death that has just occurred nearby

In Scotland, a strange dog coming to the house means a new friendship

In England, to meet a spotted or black and white dog on your way to a business appointment is lucky

Three white dogs seen together are considered lucky in some areas

Black dogs are generally considered unlucky, especially if they cross a traveler’s path or follow someone and refuse to be driven away

Fishermen traditionally regard dogs as unlucky and will not take one out in a boat, or mention the word ‘dog’ whilst at sea

The sight of a dog eating grass, rolling on the floor or scratching itself excessively are all said to be omens that rain is imminent

DONKEY

There is also a tradition that to see a dead donkey means great good fortune,

It is considered a good-luck charm to leap over the carcass of a dead donkey three times

When a donkey brays and twitches its ears, it is said to be an omen that there will be wet weather

ELEPHANTS

In Siam, white elephants were rare and not made to work for their upkeep,

FISH

Throw back the first fish you catch then you’ll be lucky the whole day fishing

It’s bad luck to get married when the fish aren’t biting, according to the custom of some fisher folk

A fish should always be eaten from the head toward the tail

Dream of fish: someone you know is pregnant

If you count the number of fish you caught, you will catch no more that day

It’s bad luck to say the word “pig” while fishing at sea

FOX

Fox passing your home is a forerunner of misfortune

FROG

Frogs, like toads, were once thought to have peculiar properties, and were frequently used in healing charms, and in others of a slightly less innocent nature

A well known country cure for thrush was to hold a live frog with its head in the patient’s mouth. As it breathed, so it drew the disease away and into itself. Warts could also be cured by rubbing a frog across them

The dried body of a frog worn in a silk bag around the neck averted epilepsy and other fits

A frog brings good luck to the house it enters

Frogs are said to be the souls of children who have died and thus it is very unlucky to kill one

GOAT

A goat’s foot or some hairs from his beard are believed to be talismans for driving off evil spirits

HENS and COCKS

A hen with tail-feathers like those of a rooster is considered to be unlucky; previously these birds would be killed on most farms

Hens which roost in the morning are said to be foretelling a death, usually that of the farmer or someone in his household

A hen which enters the house is an omen that a visitor will arrive, and this is also the case if a rooster crows near the door or comes inside

A hen that crows near a house is supposed to be forecasting a death,

And any hen that persistently crows is said by country folk to have ‘got the Devil in her’ and should be killed before she takes to destroying her eggs and teaches the other hens to do the same

It is said to be unlucky for a hen to lay an even number of eggs and you would be well advised to remove one from a sitting bird

It was believed that when he crowed to welcome the dawn all ghosts and evil spirits had to return to the underworld

A cock crowing in the evening is an omen of bad weather the following day,

And if it calls during the night hours there is going to be a death in the family

That the bird crows all through Christmas Eve to Christmas morning so that no evil spirits can spoil this holy time

HORSE

A white horse could warn of danger, and lived longer than a dark horse, so was considered a living amulet against early death

Spotted horses are magical

Grey horses and horses with four white socks are unlucky

In some places it is lucky to meet a white horse;

Tradition states that upon meeting a white horse one should spit and make a wish, or cross one’s fingers until a dog is seen

In many places it is lucky to lead a horse through the house

It was once thought that whooping-cough could be cured by going to the stables and inhaling the breath of a horse

Being breathed upon by a piebald horse, or riding upon its back, was another supposed cure

Horse-hairs, chopped very finely and fed to a child in bread and butter, were thought to be a certain cure for worms,
And the horse-spurs (calluses which appear on the sides of a horse’s leg) were believed in the eighteenth century to be a cure for cancer if dried, ground and drunk frequently with new milk

LADYBUG

The bright scarlet ladybug is a luck-bringer, probably because it is traditionally associated by its color with fire

It is a sign of good fortune if one lands on a person’s hand or dress. It must, however, be allowed to fly away of its own accord, and must not be brushed off. It is permissible to speed it onwards by a gentle puff, and by the recitation of the rhyme which runs
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone

The deeper the ladybug’s color, the better luck it brings.

The number of spots on its back is also important. The more spots…the better the luck!

If a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come

MOTH

A big black moth in the house means a deceased one is just visiting reincarnated through that moth

MOUSE

Somebody throws away a dead mouse; the wind will soon start to blow from that direction

To hear a mouse squeaking anywhere near someone who is ill is a sign that the person will die

They are the souls of people who have been murdered

If they nibble anyone’s clothing during the night, that person will suffer some misfortune

While no journey undertaken after seeing one is likely to be successful

PIG

One superstition to get rid of warts involves rubbing a peeled apple and giving it to a pig

There is a superstition that pigs can see the wind (Ireland)

When they are seen hurrying about their sty or carrying a bunch of straw in their mouth then there is a storm on the way

It is unlucky to have a pig cross your path – turn your back till it is gone – and if it begins to make a rather strange whining noise then there is to be a death in the family

RABBITS AND HARES

In the British Isles, the hare, like the cat, was thought to be a witch in disguise

This witch could only be killed with a silver bullet

Since rabbits and hares are born with eyes open, which is an erroneous notion, they supposedly had special powers over the evil eye

It is believed to be unlucky to meet either a hare or a rabbit

In some English counties it is considered unwise to shoot a black rabbit

Rabbits and hares were never mentioned at sea, as they were considered ill-omened words, and to meet one on the way to see was a very bad omen

An old custom is to say ‘Rabbits’ or ‘White Rabbits’ either once or three times on the first day of the month, as a good luck charm; it must be the first word said that morning, otherwise the charm is not potent

The rabbit’s foot also became a symbol of fertility

Rabbit’s feet are also symbols of new life

By owning a rabbit’s foot as a talisman, you would have vital connections with many powerful forces

A left rabbit hind foot, carried in the left pocket after having been removed from a rabbit that was killed during a full moon by a cross-eyed person is truly lucky

Actors may keep a rabbit’s foot in their make-up cases for good luck, and will meet with misfortune if the foot is lost

In Wales an old belief is that a new-born child rubbed all over with a rabbit’s foot will be lucky for life

SHEEP

To meet a flock of sheep on a journey is an omen of good luck

An old Manx belief states that sheep cannot be counted accurately unless the person counting them has washed his or her eyes under running water first

Peaceful sheep, lying in the field, are said to herald fine weather,

But rain is foretold if they are restless and baa for no apparent reason

The knuckle-bone from a piece of mutton was once thought to be a preventative charm against rheumatism if carried about in the pocket; similarly,

A certain T-shaped bone from a sheep’s head was believed to protect its carrier from bad luck and evil

A strip of sheepskin on a horse’s collar was once used as prevention against the evil eye

A sheep’s lung was once applied to the feet of a pneumonia sufferer, and was thought to draw the disease downward into itself

People could be wrapped in the skin of a freshly-killed sheep in an attempt to cure an adder bite;

Children with whooping-cough were thought to be cured by letting a sheep breathe on them

Sufferers from consumption were once advised to walk around a sheepfold many times a day, beginning early in the morning

If sheep gnash their teeth during round-up in the autumn, the winter will be hard

If sheep gnash their teeth somewhere else, it presages very bad weather

SPIDER

Superstitious people probably don’t kill spiders because it has been unlucky since a spider spun a web over baby Jesus to hide him from Herod

‘If you wish to live and thrive
Let the spider run alive’

There are numerous superstitions concerning the humble spider:

If you see a spider spinning a new web, you will shortly get some new clothes

If one drops onto you face or clothes – particularly a tiny ‘money spider’- then your finances will improve

A spider with syrup cures fever

Seeing a spider run down a web in the afternoon means you’ll take a trip

You’ll meet a new friend if you run into a web

A spider is a repellent against plague when worn around the neck in a walnut shell

SOW BUGS

A bag filled with 13 sow bugs tied around a child’s neck will cure the child from the thrash, or sores in the mouth

WEASELS

It is impossible to catch a weasel asleep

T is bad luck if one crosses your path and appears near your home making its distinctive squeaking sound

WOLF

Powered wolf liver was used to ease birth pains

A wolf’s right paw, tied around ones throat, was believed to ease the swelling caused by throat infections

It was widely believed that a horse that stepped in a wolf print would be crippled

The gaze of a wolf was once thought to cause blindness

Others believed that the breath of the wolf could cook meat

Naturalists of the day believed wolves sharpened their teeth before hunting

Dead wolves were buried at a village entrance to keep out other wolves

Filed under: Moon, Paranormal, Folklore

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