Monday, May 4, 2015

13 Superstitions and their Origins Part I

BLACK CATS have long been seen in Western Cultures as an omen of bad luck associated with witches and many cultures believe that a black cat crossing your path means you will suffer disaster or even death.  If a gambler sees a black cat while going to a casino, they should not gamble there.  In Japan, Britain and Ireland black cats are seen as bringers of good luck.  THE SCOTTISH PLAY: Macbeth superstition holds that saying "Macbeth" in a theater outside of performing the play it will bring misfortune on the production.  It is called the "The Scottish Play" instead.  In the very first performance , legend has it the lead actor was killed when a real dagger was used instead of a stage prop.  GARGOYLES: It is a form of "apotropaic" magic, something intended to scare away evil.  True gargoyles serve another more practical purpose their mouths are spouts that channel rainwater off the roofs of churches.  DEAD MAN'S HAND: A pair of black eights and a pair of black aces plus a fifth unspecified card.  It is an unlucky hand in poker.  This hand was held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot and killed while playing poker in Deadwood in 1876.  CROSSING FINGERS: For good luck it is common around the world.  It seems to be most common in Christian countries because it is related to the cross.  It could also be an old Pagan or Norse gesture or possibly a good luck superstition created by archers during the 'Hundred Year War" between England and France.  Archers used their two main fingers to draw back their bow.  BROKEN MIRRORS: Common thought that a broken mirror will result in 7 years bad luck.  It is traced back to the idea that a mirror captures part of your soul.When a mirror breaks part of your soul gets broken too.  That is why some cultures cover up all the mirrors and reflective surfaces in a house where someone has died.  Their souls can leave the building without getting trapped in the mirror.  GROUNDHOG DAY: Popular in U.S. and Canada.  The tradition of animals' shadows predicting the coming of spring.  Actually dates back to an old German superstition around Candlemas Day, which was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants.

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