Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wive's tales, Superstitions, and Common Beliefs - Volume One

Superstitions. Wive's tales. These things seem to be able to explain just about everything that life has to offer, as well as advise against certain behaviors. I am not, nor have I ever been very superstitious but I always found it fascinating how someone will change their behaviors or expectations based on what I consider to be coincidence. I've heard it said before that there are no coincidences. I choose to disagree. Somehow, I don't think there are some strange omnipotent forces at work when I happen to run into someone I know, or accidentally stumble upon something beneficial. I also never met anyone whose face was once normal, but is not frozen in a state of disfigurement after sticking his or her tongue out at a sibling. 

People also say that some things were meant to be... While I still disagree, I will say that there are some things that happen to work out very nicely, some things that fit together very nicely and conveniently.
... and coincidentally.

Itchy things - Hands
I've heard it said that if your right hand is itchy, it means that money is coming in, whereas if your left hand is itchy, money will be going out. I always found this funny because during the course of someone's life, some amount of money is always coming in, and some amount of money is always going out. I'd say that this is a pretty safe statement. I don't think anyone's every had an itchy right hand and never relieved another penny over the course of his or her life time. To believe in this statement is just as safe as believing "If I wake up, it means I'll be going to sleep sometime in the near future."

But where did this superstition come from?
From what I can gather, this superstition seems to be Greek in origin. Apparently, the right hand is considered to be the luckier of the two, and the left is actually thought of as unholy, hence the paying with the left and receiving with the right. The itchiness is thought to be the hand's anticipation of a transaction. Evidentially, greek hands are prophetic. Even "profitic" at least with the right.

This is seen also in the orthodox church, Jesus seated at the right hand of the father, making the sign of the cross with the right hand, etc. (Spectacles, testicles, watch, wallet, in roman catholic church... I think it's wallet watch in the orthodox.)

Itchy things - Nose
There also seems to be a significance to the itching of the nose. The common belief is that an itchy nose means either you'll get kissed by a fool, or get into a fight.

I think I can single-handedly blow this superstition out of the water... I grew up with allergies to dust mites and cats. ...and we had a cat. I can safely say that my nose itched from the age of eight straight through to the current day. According to the itchy nose superstition, I should either be covered in bruises, or lip prints. I assure you, I have no excess of either.

But where did this superstition come from?
I don't know. 

...what, it's not like I'm being payed to research this stuff! If I can't find it after a few minutes of googling, I'm sorry, you're out of luck. 

The stranger stuff
So far, there's been nothing we haven't heard on here. I mean, we have all heard the two I listed, we've all heard about black cats, walking under ladders (which I don't think is bad luck, I think it's just stupid, by the way) broken mirrors, opening umbrellas indoors, etc... 

But what about the stuff you don't hear every day? Here are a few of those... (Found here:  

  • I've heard that you should Wear a St. Christopher Medal when you travel. I have also heard that Historians don't believe there ever was a Saint Christopher.
  • Counting a person's teeth robs them of one year of life for every tooth counted, this is why some people cover their mouths when they laugh, smile or yawn.
  • When moving into a new house, never take any mirrors with you. Leave them in the old house and buy all new ones. The reason is, spirits can be transported from place to place with mirrors and to avoid taking evil ones along it is better to leave them.
Be sure to comment with one's you've heard over the years, I'll put them into future volumes!