Old Wives Tales, Superstitions

enjoyingspringJune 21, 2009

I just love old wives tales and superstitions, do you have any that you would like to share.

One that I like is that when you see cattle laying down in the fields it means it is going to rain. My uncle on the farm told me that one years ago. Next time you see a cow laying down in the field check the weather forcaste and see if it is going to rain.

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I also heard that one.
My family was very superstitious...it could drive you nuts at times.
How about never cut your nails or hair on a Friday or Sunday..religious luck
When ever you give knives as a gift, include a coin for luck. Something about the sharpness of the blade.
Never give a purse without money in it...the person will always be broke
If you put your clothes on backwards or inside out don't change them...it is lucky
If you fall going up stairs it is lucky.
Never pick up your own fallen gloves.
Shall I go on LOL!!! As I said it really could drive you round the bend hahaha

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 10:16AM
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The way I heard the one about giving a knife as a gift is it will cut your friendship. You should always get paid for the knife. I always charge a penny.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Taigen, my great grandparents were from Canada, as you are, and I wonder if some of our superstitions originated there.

Grandmother Ida also taught us what you mentioned, that if you put your clothes on backwards or inside out you should leave it that way for good luck.

If you get a sore bump on your tongue it means you've told a lie.

If your skirt or trouser hem is turned up or your shirt label is sticking up behind your neck, you get to make a wish before you fix it.

When a beverage, especially tea, is poured, any bubbles in your cup represent money, so we say, "You've got money in your cup. Take your spoon and drink it up!"

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:09AM
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My Mom was a bundle of superstitions. And, try as I might, it is difficult to ignore some of them (LOL).

For example:

It's bad luck to go back into the house once you leave to go somewhere (the one time she did, they had an accident!)

Never sew your clothes while wearing them -- you will die in them. This was followed up by the story of some relative whose skirt was torn by a rabid dog while she was riding a horse, she stitched up the rip and got rabies.

She also had all sorts of sayings -- if you drop a knife on the floor and man will come visiting from the direction it is pointing; if you drop a fork, it will be a woman. She used to add that if you dropped the dishcloth, some slouch would show up!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:33AM
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....and right palm itching means meeting someone and left palm itching means money coming.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:37AM
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Litereader, my grandmother used to say "Sew your clothes upon your back, you'll never have another tack!"

If we put clothes on backwards, we couldn't take it off because the fairies would take you away. I still turn the shirt, etc. around but don't take it off over my head so technically it is still on me.

I've heard most of those superstitions before. Many of them are quite common here in Newfoundland. I wonder if they come from Britian/Ireland where many of our forefathers came from.

Itchy feet = walk on strange ground
Sleep with a piece of wedding cake under your pillow = dream of your future husband
Two crows flying together = good luck
13 people at a table = bad luck. My uncle absolutely refused to sit at a table with 12 others. He would take his dinner and eat elsewhere in the house.
Enter and leave a house by the same door. If you leave a house by a different door than you came in through, you would take all of the luck from the house.
Two people passing on the stairs = sign of a wedding

And I'm sure you have all heard this little poem....
See a penny, pick it up
All day long you'll have good luck.
If you give the penny away,
You'll keep your luck for another day.

When you pick up a penny, you have to give it to someone else to have a second day of good luck.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 12:50PM
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Hats on a bed and/or shoes over your head both invoke bad luck.

Owl hooting in the daylight means a death.

Wild bird in the house brings an argument with your spouse.

Cross the palm of your fortune teller with silver to insure the good luck. That means you pay the person who does a fortune telling for you, not necessarily do you have to give them silver, just a payment of some kind.

Those are just a few I've heard not listed yet!
About the knives, the way I heard is, giving a knife as a gift will cut your friendship. You should always get paid for a knife. I too always charge a penny. If you give anyone any type of money holder, a purse, change holder, wallet even a money clip it should have money in it to insure it will never be empty.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 12:57PM
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My mom used to say if you left the house with no money, dogs would pee on you. I used to hear so many old wives tales, I can't remember them. I didn't pay any attention to them.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 1:13PM
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Sweeping a floor after dark brings bad luck. Throw spilt salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck. Whistling at the table means you'll marry a fool.If you use the words,"Good-Bye" when parting you will never see that person again.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 1:32PM
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If someone gives you a plant, you must not thank them or the plant will die.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 2:01PM
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How about, "You can't get pregnant if you "do it" standing up!"?? LOL

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 5:12PM
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Phillis-What if both palms are itching? LOL Maybe I'm going to meet someone that is going to give me money.Mine have been itching a lot lately but I haven't seen any money yet.LOL

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 1:39AM
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Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning; Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

A greenish band of color in a rain cloud means that it contains hail. (Farmer's observational data.)

If the chickens goes back out into the rain, it means that it will rain most of the day.

Peaches, peaches, my nose itches. Someone's coming with a hole in their britches.

Step on a crack, break your mother's back.

A bird hitting a window indicates a death, or impending death in the family.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 4:02AM
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Walking under a ladder is bad luck.

If your palms itch you will be handling money, but only if you don't scratch them!

Knocking on wood is something I still see people do often. In fact I do it myself sometimes.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 6:00AM
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My Mom thinks if you leave milk out during a thunderstorm, it will curdle. My MIL used to give me a purse or wallet as a gift, but always included a ittle money "for luck". She was Italian, I suspect She was part Gypsy.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:24AM
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I don't have any superstitions, but do act as if I do every once in a while. I pick up dropped pennies because it's money, someday you may need that penny. I would love to believe it is a penny from heaven.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:01AM
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Don't forget getting warts from toads when the ever dangerous black cat crosses your path while you're wishing on a falling star, getting the larger part of the wishbone...

There was an OLD, old friend of the family who always insisted on watching the sun set to see if it'll rain the next day. After all, if the sun goes down in clouds, it'll rain the next day.

We can chuckle about a lot of these, but what's amazing is the superstitions and wives's tales that so many people actually believe!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Some I remember my parents saying when I was growing up.

-May snow is good for sore eyes.

-If you sing at the table you will marry a drunk.

-Eating your crusts makes you sing.

-When gulls flock to shore there's weather in store (bad weather).

-If you drop a fork that means you will have company that day.

-If your foot is itchy you will walk on strange ground.

-If you sneeze you will kiss a fool, or if you sneeze someone is thinking about you.

-If you cross your fork and knife on your dinner plate someone will die.

-If your palms itch either you will get money or lose money depending on the hand (can never remember which is which, right or left to win or lose money).

-Dream of the dead, hear from the living.

-Buy a broom in May, sweep your life away.

-Bringing a loaf of bread to someone who moves into a new house is supposed to bring them luck.

-If you buy your girlfriend a watch it means you will break up.

-Never open an umbrella inside the house.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:11AM
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My Mom had a million of them. She was always saying them. Here are a few.

Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.

Also peel the apple in one continous peel, toss it over your shoulder and it will be the letter of the name of the man you will marry.

It's bad luck to put a hat on a bed.

Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.

To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately after they leave.

If your ears suddenly feel on fire, someone is talking about you.

It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match.

It's bad luck to pick up a coin if it's tails side up. Good luck comes if it's heads up.

It's good luck to find a four-leaf clover.

A cricket in the house brings good luck. Or rain.

Crows: One's bad, Two's luck, Three's health, Four's wealth, Five's sickness, Six is death.

If an eyelash falls out, put it on the back of the hand, make a wish and throw it over your shoulder. If it flies off the hand the wish will be granted.

Pulling out a gray or white hair will cause ten more to grow in its place.

If your nose itches you will soon be kissed by a fool.

It's bad luck to let milk boil over.

To break a mirror means 7 years bad luck. The cure: to bury the pieces, or run them in a stream.

Do not place shoes or hat upon a table, for this will bring bad luck for the day, cause trouble with your mate and you might even lose your job as a result.

The devil can enter your body when you sneeze. Having someone say, "God bless you," drives the devil away.

A wish made upon seeing the first robin in spring will come true - but only if you complete the wish before the robin flies away.

Bad luck will follow the spilling of salt unless a pinch is thrown over the left shoulder into the face of the devil waiting there.

All wishes on shooting stars come true. If you tell someone your wish, it won't come true.

Knock three times on wood after mentioning good fortune so evil spirits won't ruin it.

Two people pull apart the dried breastbone of a chicken or turkey until it cracks and breaks, each one making a wish while doing so. The person who gets the long half of the wishbone will have his or her wish come true.

The number of Xs in the palm of your right hand is the number of children you will have.

Cover your mouth when you yawn, or your soul can go out of your body along with the yawn.

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

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:43AM
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I heard that when cows were laying down in the field, it meant the fishing was poor.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 5:56PM
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"My Mom thinks if you leave milk out during a thunderstorm, it will curdle"

There is an element of truth in this one. We used to make cottage cheese, and it seemed that the best curds also formed the quickest, when there were thunderheads around. Apparently, the bacillus responsible for making cottage cheese is more abundant in the air under these conditions.

"I heard that when cows were laying down in the field, it meant the fishing was poor."

Cows normally lay down for part of the day, most often after they have grazed and filled their first stomach. On a hot day, they will seek the coolist spot, lay down, relax, and "chew their cud". They also lay down to sleep. Horses, on the other hand, must remain standing to sleep, else they may sufficate.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 2:03AM
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dream of a funeral and there will be a death dream of a
wedding and there will be a funeral yellow lighters are unlucky if you borrow them rain on the open grave means they are going to heaven if your neckalce clasp comes all the way to the front you can make a wish

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 2:21PM
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If there is a ring around the moon a storm is coming. If there are stars visible inside the ring the number of stars is how many days until the storm.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 3:58PM
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Oh, Mom always said " you have to wait a hour to swim after you eat so you don't get a cramp". WRONG, my kids ate while floating on their water mattresses in the pool!
We lived in the San Joaquin Valley and it is hot hot hot! I was lucky they got out long enough to run to the bathroom !

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 4:56PM
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re: sneezes
one's a wish
two's a kiss
three's a disapointment
four's a letter
five's something better

my Mom told us we would get polio from running through the sprinkler..this in the 50's and 60's

a friends Mom told them that they would get polio from touching dog bones

a lot of fear of polio before the vaccination came about

I always heard that if you gave a knife as a gift to someone you included a penny in the box and they had to return the penny to keep the relationship from being cut apart

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 6:06PM
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Gram use to say if it rains on Mon. it will rain three days out of the week/

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 6:13PM
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My doughter came up with a doozy the other day that I had not heard of.....she got a chill, and said that someone will walk on her grave after she has passed.
Really weird I thought....


    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:03PM
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Whet about a woman not allowed into the kitchen during her menstrual cycle during canning- the foods/jelly will go bad!

Oh-oh...I hear owls during the day all the time.
The dogs are gonna' pee on me alot!!
Maybe that's why my plants die- I say 'thank you'.
I get a bird hitting my windows almost every day...
I keep my brooms when I move..

No Wonder I am in the state I am in!

The 'Red sky in morning' is true- my dad was a 'weatherman' in the Air Force. It has to do with the moisture in the air, the amount of particles in the air, the rotation of the weather (west to east), and the light splitting the light/color spectrum. Sorry- that one isn't a superstition!

Thank goodnes we don't believe in these- can you imagine how people would live if they did?!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 11:46PM
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"It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match."

This one has a true basis. It was a saying developed during WW2. Night time snipers could spot the match flame when someone lighted a cigarette. If 3 persons lighted cigarettes from the same match, it gave the sniper enough time to draw an accurate bead and fire a shot. A numner of soldiers lost their lives by not heeding this warning.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 1:06AM
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