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Superstitions

gibbo

Well-known member
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#1
1. It's bad luck to walk under a ladder: A leaning ladder forms a triangle with the wall and ground. Triangles represent the Holy Trinity, and violating the Trinity by breaking it (walking through it) would put you in league with the devil himself. Considering what Christians did to those who were considered to be in league with the devil, it's hardly surprising that leaning ladders were avoided at all cost.

2. Friday the Thirteenth: The idea that this day would bring bad luck has its roots in both Norse and Christian beliefs. The Scandinavian's believed that the number 13 was unlucky due to the mythological 12 demigods being joined by a 13th, an evil one, who brought misfortune upon humans. Christ was said to have been crucified on Friday and the number of guests at the party of the Last Supper was 13, with the 13th guest being Judas, the traitor.

3. God Bless You: The blessing of those who sneeze started when the great plague took hold of Europe. Sufferers began sneezing violently, and as such, were bound to die. The Pope therefore passed a law requiring people to bless the sneezer. At the same time, it was expected that anybody sneezing would cover their mouth with a cloth or their hand. This was obviously to stop the spreading of the disease, but many believed that it was to keep the soul intact. Sneezing 'into the air' would allow the soul to escape and death would be imminent. Up until this time, the opposite was true. Those who sneezed were congratulated as it was believed that a violent sneeze would expel evil from their bodies.

4. Black Cats: In ancient Egypt, the Goddess Bast was a black, female cat. Christians, wanting to rid society of all traces of other religions, convinced the ignorant that black cats were demons in disguise and should thus be destroyed. In the process, they also destroyed the kindly ladies who cared for the cats, believing them to be witches. Being demons, a black cat crossing your path would create a barrier of evil, cutting you off from God and blocking the entrance to heaven.

5. Spilling Salt: Salt was, during the middle ages, a very expensive commodity used mainly for medicinal purposes. For this reason, spillage was to be avoided at all costs. The idea that it is unlucky to do so probably stems from the belief that Judas spilt salt during the last supper. Throwing spilt salt over the left shoulder is linked to its medicinal use. If it could not be administered, the next best thing was to throw it into the eye of the evil spirits that brought sickness upon us. These spirits were thought to lurk behind your shoulder, waiting for an opportunity to strike.

6. Fingers Crossed: This is probably the superstition that is most widely used today. By making the sign of the Christian faith with our fingers, evil spirits would be prevented from destroying our chances of good fortune.

7. Knock on Wood: This goes back to the days before Christianity made it's entrance. It was believed that good spirits lived in trees, and that by knocking on anything made from wood, we could call upon these spirits for protection against misfortune


gibbo
 
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