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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through November 11, 2004 » About my "Superstitions" post « Previous Next »

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Allmytee_meg
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Username: Allmytee_meg

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 11:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I realize that a lot of the items I put in my list of superstitious items are not solely Irish. There are many solely based Irish superstitions in my paper that I already have the information for. The items I listed I wanted to know what YOU yourself have heard so that I can compare and contrast your answers to what someone else has heard on the other side of the world.

For example, the superstition I have about black cats is not the same as the superstition my friend in New Zealand has (I'm from California). I realize I wasn't quite clear with what I wanted in my previous post, so hopefully this will clear things up. I'll put the list in this post and hopefully I'll hear back from some of you!!!

Thanks
~Megan
_________________________________________________

black cats

throwing salt over your shoulder

saying “God Bless You” when someone sneezes

Friday the 13th

walking under a ladder

knocking on wood

the superstitions surrounding death (this can be anything, such as placing coins over the deceased's eyes in order to pay the reaper for taking their soul to the land of the dead, etc.)

the superstitions surrounding weddings (again, this can be anything, like why some days are taboo to get married on, to why must the bride have something new, old, blue, and borrowed?, etc.)

the superstitions about the Banshee

the superstitions about the Leprechaun
_________________________________________________

I need to know the superstition you have or had about the items, where you heard it from (had is been passed down throughout your family?), and what will happen to you if the superstition is not obeyed. Again, at the end of your post I'll need your first name only (you can make one up if you like), your age, ethnicity, and where you're from. Any help you guys could give me would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks again!
Megan

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Robin
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Username: Robin

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Megan,

My sainted Irish mother had a lot of, shall we say, beliefs?? Most of them I don't consciously think of, unless something happens and I react and other people act like I'm crazy. Here's the list that I can think of:

If you are moving, leave your broom behind, as it leaves your bad luck behind with it.

If a bird flies in the house, there will be a death in the family. (Birds coming in our house would reduce my mother to tears)

If you give someone a purse or wallet, you must put some money in it so that they will never be broke.

The salt over the shoulder thing of course.

If you find a penny on the street, you must keep it, or you will be giving your luck away.

It's good luck if it rains on the Bride's wedding day.

Bad luck for the Bride to see the Groom before the wedding (I mean on that day of course. )

If you tickle a baby's feet, it will make them stutter when they learn to talk.

As for me, I don't move brooms, but I do tickle baby's feet, and there was a blizzard on my wedding day, and it was NOT good luck. :-)

Robin
half Polish-American, half Irish-American, 49 years old from the U.S.

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 53
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 04:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I tried to post this earlier, but it didn't "take" for whatever reason. I'll try again.

Regarding Friday the 13th:

During the period of the Crusades there were a number of Knightly monastic orders. Chief among these were the Knights Templar. They amassed a great fortune of money, land, buildings etc. And, consequently, gained quite a bit of power. To make a very long and complicated story short, France and the Pope weren't too fond of this. On Friday the 13th (can't remember what year) all members of the Templar Knights were rounded up in France. The tortures, beatings, disembowellments...all that inquistion style stuff, rapidly ensued. The leader of the order at the time was a man names Jaques DeMolay. He was roasted alive because he would not acknowledge the order as a demonic cult. They wer actually a Holy monastic order of warriors who took it as their charge to safeguard the pilgramage route to the Holy Land and they were the self appointed guardians of King Solomon's Temple. At any rate, with the Friday the 13th round-up and torture, the order was driven underground throughout the rest of Europe. We see remnants of the order in many Euorpean fraternal orders, most notably in the Masonic order.

This, as I understand it, is one explanation for the Unlucky Friday the 13th superstition.

Not particularly an Irish myth. Sorry.

Le meas

James

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Natalie
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Username: Natalie

Post Number: 51
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

My mother tells me that my grandmother, besides beleiving in the "bird getting in the house will bring a death" also used to say that when she dropped the dishcloth, they would be getting company.

Here's some other ones too, I don't remember the details behind them but...

If your (right/left, can't remember) hand is itchy, then you will be coming into some money. I believe with this one, one of the hands brought you money and the other meant you would lose it.

If your nose was itchy, you were going to have a fight with a fool or kiss a fool.

If your ear was warm than someone was talking about you.

I had also heard that the knocking on wood one was because fairies often live in logs and such things and therefore, knocking on wood was supposed to be lucky. (I don't know where I heard that before)

Also, some buildings don't have a 13th floor because 13 is an unlucky number. (It's not that there isn't one, thats impossible, its just that they skip that number).

Of course, you hang a horse shoe above a barn door but it needs to be turned up because otherwise, all the luck will run out.

A custom too is to put money in a wallet (or purse) when giving it as a gift to ensure that there will always be money in it.

Anyway, those are all the ones I could think of...

Natalie
16 years old
Canadian!

Natalie

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 514
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I agree with James, that is the explanation I've heard about Friday 13th as well. Regarding the topic on which I don't agree with James, I can only say Comhghairdeas!. Much as I would have wanted another result, I'm glad the outcome was clearer this time.

One interesting Irish superstition that I don't know from Scandinavia is the habit of always leaving a house by another door than the one you entered through (if it's possible, of course).

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James
Member
Username: James

Post Number: 54
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 12:16 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I've heard that same superstition my whole life growing up in the Southeastern United States. Don't leave a house by the same door you entered. I don't know why...it's just something I've always heard.

Regarding the "disagreed upon subject": Regardless of one's position, we can all agree that this time around things were settled in a much more respectable manner.

Le meas

James

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.157.233
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 03:19 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The superstition about knocking on wood is very much alive in Ireland. If you say something like 'I've never broken a bone in my body' you would then touch a piece of wood and say 'touch wood'. I did it only yesterday!
As for the banshee etc I would say that is a legend rather than a superstition.
There are other superstitions that have died out (I have a degree in Irish Folklore). There is a very famous one about when a baby is born you put a fly or a worm in it's fist and let it kill it because that means it won't want to kill anything else for the rest of its life!
It was also bad luck 'in the olden times' to let your fire go out. (When there was no central heating you wouldn't want it to go out anyway!)
There are others today like, don't open an umbrella inside, don't walk under a ladder, don't break a mirror - if you see magpies: one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six gor gold, seven for a secret never to be told.
Loads more but can't think of them right now.

Rebecca

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 515
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 03:55 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Absolutely, James.

There are others today like, don't open an umbrella inside, don't walk under a ladder, don't break a mirror - if you see magpies: one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six gor gold, seven for a secret never to be told.

It's interesting that although things like umbrellas, mirrors and even ladders are fairly modern (in the time perspective of folklore), all those superstitions are found here as well. I wonder why, but at least they can't be specifically Irish. The one about magpies is somewhat different, we have so many of them that you can hardly walk even in the middle of Helsinki without seeing many magpies. Regarding the "touch wood", my grandparents and my mother use it constantly.

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Robin
Member
Username: Robin

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 09:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Natalie - thanks for reminding me of some of my mother's other beliefs. :-) As for your palm itching, the left means money coming in, the right means money going out.

If you accidently say someone's name (who is not with you at the time and you weren't discussing to begin with) - it means that person is talking about you.

If you get a sudden chill on a warm day, someone just walked across your grave.

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.135.10
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 09:35 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't know if it's a belief or superstition but women can only ask men to marry them on leap year day.

Also, if you're going get into the days you can get married on...there is something against getting married on almost every day of the week, it depends what part of Ireland you're from.

R

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Dan
Member
Username: Dan

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 11:35 am:   Edit Post Print Post

My family also had the one about the broom but it was for good luck,a new broom and salt before movinginto a new home. also if your tummy gets wet when doing dishes you will marry a drunk. dropping a fork spoon or knife will mean a man woman or child will knock on your door. crossed knives = fight crossed spoons = christining. hem turns up on your dress a new dress, short string long short note long string long letter. most of which I dont take but with a grain of salt

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pad (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 12.75.255.198
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 11:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Always heard the "knock wood" belief came from a Scandanavian myth regarding spirits who lived in the trees. If you spill salt, you must throw a pinch over your left shoulder. Never throw water out the door without warning the "wee folk". Don't give a gift of knives, scissors or any other sharp implement without giving a coin as well. This will prevent cutting the friendship.I've heard these all my life and knew people who always observe them but don't know of anyone who takes them seriously.

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Robin
Member
Username: Robin

Post Number: 6
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 09:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

There's another one, like I said, I'm not aware of all of them, I just do them automatically until someone asks me what I'm doing. Pad reminded me of this one when mentioning the giving knives bit. Never thank someone for giving you a plant or the plant will die. Also, if someone brings you food, when you return the container, it can't be empty, you have to put food in it too.

And what do you mean you don't know anyone who takes them seriously? :-)

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.166.207
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 09:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I forgot, when I mentioned the magpies, that if you see one magpie and it's in flight you say 'one in flight, two in sight' which means you don't get the sorrow. Or if it's not in flight you spit and say 'sorrow on such and such' - I don't like that one, I guess I must believe it because I feel I would actually bring sorrow to that person!
Another is, you never stand in the doorway of a house because you're, basically, on the threshold of two realms and that's bad luck.

Rebecca (oh and I'm 27 from Ireland)

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Tadhg
Member
Username: Tadhg

Post Number: 1
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 01:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

regarding the superstition of a bird flying into the house, i've always heard that it had to be a magpie specifically. i have friends in ireland who lost a relative after a magpie flew into the kitchen. during the wake, a second magpie entered the house, and a few days later another relative passed away. comhtharlu?
i have also heard that a lone magpie is a bad omen, so when you see one magpie you should address it, saying something like, "good morning, magpie, and how is your wife today?" to imply that the bird is in fact not alone...one for sorrow, two for joy...
i also grew up with the notion that one should hold their breath while passing a graveyard, but i'm not sure if this is at all Irish in origen or not.
-t

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 517
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 07:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Strange for me to read all this about magpies. It's hard to think that such an ordinary bird could become the source of so much superstition - but it is of course not nearly as common in Ireland as in Finland.

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.128.67
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 02:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I dunno, they're very common here (Ireland). I don't know if this is a new thing or not but in the estate in which I live you'd see at least ten magpies out on the green each day....I remember when I was a child I wouldn't see many but now the superstition seems silly because there are so many!(but that doesn't stop me from believing it)

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Shoibhan
Member
Username: Shoibhan

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 10:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The superstitions I've heard about black cats are basically not to let one cross your path. Personally, I think that's more because they blend in at night and you'll trip over them. Both my Polish and my Irish grandmothers told me that one.

I'm not sure where I ever heard about throwing salt over your shoulder. I do know that if you spill salt, you should pick some up and throw it over your left shoulder. Something about throwing salt in ol' Nicks eye. But I'm a little vague on that one.

I was never told that saying “God Bless You” when someone sneezes was a superstition. I always just thought it was polite. I know my mom always told me that.

Friday the 13th being bad luck I heard probably in 1st grade. 13 was an unlucky number something to do with the apostles, maybe Judas was the 13th person at the table? Another one I'm vague on.

My dad told me about walking under a ladder when I was about 5, basically because I was playing while he was painting!

Knocking on wood is another one I've always heard. And I do it all the time too. My aunt told me it wakes up the tree spirits to get them to pay attention and help you out. But she's the only one I ever heard that from.

Didn't hear about coins over the eyes of the dead until I was studying cultures in high school. One I do remember is to hold your breath when driving past a cemetary so the evil spirits don't get you (Girl Scout bus trip in 3rd grade!)

I know the new, old, blue, and borrowed for weddings, but don't know why. Throwing rice (or flower petals) is supposed to be for fertility. And rain on your wedding day means lots of children (Irish grandma).

All I know of the superstitions about the Banshee is that if you hear a banshee cry, someone soon is going to die. That was Grandma again.

The superstitions about the Leprechaun - hmmm (anything I know is from reading or my Irish grandma, god rest her soul). They are mischief makers - but leave out your shoes and they'll clean them up for you. But you have to leave them a nip of whiskey. Catch them and you'll be shown their pot of gold! I almost forgot that!

Hope that helps!

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pad (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 12.75.241.117
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 06:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Some other wedding superstitions:
Change the name but not the letter, change for worse, not for better. Don't marry anyone with the same last initial.

Marry in May - rue the day!



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