It isn’t a very well-known fact – at least not here – that the Scots, and Brits in general are a very superstitious lot. Religion (or not) aside, superstitions supersede any belief system you might have. It all stems from the history of the nation and historical events that transpired, the folklore associated with fishing (really, I’m not kidding), and perhaps even a little old Paganism thrown in for good measure.
Below is a list of fourteen (because we’re talking bad luck here and I’m not chancing it) things that are believed to be bad luck:
1. Never ever fully open an umbrella inside a home. Ever. Yes, even to dry it.
2. Spotting a single magpie is never a good thing and will bring you bad luck. Scan your surrounding area for another.
3. It is extremely bad luck to buy yourself a wallet. It is believed you’ll never have money to fill it.
4. And don’t think about buying yourself a calendar either. It will bring a year of bad luck.
5. If you spill salt, make sure you toss some with your right hand over your left shoulder. It’s said to cause arguments.
6. Breaking a mirror will cause imminent bad luck for the ensuing seven years. This is where I don’t tell you in the space of a few days, I broke two mirrors. I was seven at the time.
7. New shoes are meant to be kept to the floor level. Although I am far less to believe in the majority of superstitions, this one still gives me the heebies. It is considered bad luck to place new shoes on a bed, this “comes from the tradition of dressing a corpse in new clothes and shoes and laying them out so everyone can give their respects” – wikipedia.
8. Don’t walk underneath an open ladder. Counteract it immediately by walking back under, backwards.
9. Once a wedding ring has been placed on the finger, it’s bad luck to remove it. However, if you do remove it, it’s best to turn it three times after you replace it.
10. The number 13 is considered bad luck. This comes from The Last Supper. There were thirteen around the table. And, it was a Friday, which is why Friday the 13th is traditionally a very bad luck kinda day.
11. If you speak of bad luck, be sure to knock on wood.
12. If you see a penny and it’s face down, don’t pick it up.
13. Peacocks in general are bad luck, even as ornaments or in pictures.
14. If on display, keep a horseshoe in the ‘U’ position to hold in the good luck.
If I could add one modern-day superstition, I would say:
1. If you wash your car on a beautifully clear sunny day, within twenty-four hours it will rain.
Counter is all with having a black cat cross your path which will bring good luck.
Nice. I know about most of those, except for the magpies and the peacocks. I must be deficient in the bird-knowledge department. I’ll study up on that.
I’ve got to go start hinting around for my 2009 calendar, since I can’t buy it myself…
I’d never heard of the superstitions concerning magpie. or peacocks. I’m just wondering (plus I noticed you wrote 14 today) do you consider yourself superstitious?
Yes! This summer I went up stairs in my in-laws house to find an umbrella in the middle of the room. It was open and just sitting there! I started screaming and everyone just stared. I was screaming and covering my mouth with one hand and flapping the other at the brolly… The whole scene was a nightmarish.
The umbrella one gets me pretty badly – and I take off my wedding band every night but I do twist it three times when I put it back on.
Dude. I’m ska-rewed.
I bought myself a wallet AND a calender this week. Not to mention I also take my wedding ring and band off everyday.
Pardon me as I go find some wood to knock on and horse shoes to hold up in the “U” position.
p.s. My Chinese folks are crazy superstitious, too. Most things are bizarre and off the wall. Others are simply non-hygienic.
and I also have my wedding horse shoe hanging up…
Wow, I’m with Momisodes… I’m in big trouble. I bought a wallet and a calendar and since I own a black cat, my path is crossed constantly! I best just start knocking on my table now and keep knocking!
My TT list is up here. Stop by if you get a chance.
Well, that explains my past year then! I’d better watch my step. 😉
Oh. And I LOVE your profile pic!
Now most of those I would have known – a few I didn’t know (3, 4, 9 13) and others I learnt differently – like don’t put NEW shoes on a table. And black cats = good luck. Sure you’re right though S. Ladders -yep – always remember that one
Shit. I’m not screwed, am I? I may as well go find a casket.
Well, I’m toast. I see magpies around my area all the time–those things are mean to little rabbits! I’ve also bought myself a wallet (mmm, HoBo leather wallets!), opened an umbrella, bought a calendar and picked up a penny usually no matter what. Oops!
You forgot the one about always leaving through the same door that you entered when visiting someone else’s house!!!
If you sit down, you can leave via a different exit. 👍
Well drat! I’ve done 3 & 4 in the last week!
So that’s where my Mum got all of those exact same superstitions!
By the way, Dunino in Fife is a huge pagan worship site even today. Some wierd stuff happens there. They built a church nearby to counteract the pagan worship in the den.
I’ve failed with No.9 – my wedding ring has been in the safe for several years – it got too small (or perhaps my finger got too big ) – waiting hopefully to loose some weight and put it back on.
Oh you’re not kidding about the peacocks. We were visiting Castle Howard in Yorkshire when I was 17, and had a run-in with a belligerant peacock. Seems he didn’t like me stepping back on the grass to take a picture and he rushed at me like a bull in Pamplona, pecking me repeatedly on the calf.
There’s nothing quite so comic as a stupid American tourist being done to death by a peacock.
The new shoes thing is only if they aren’t paid for. Presumably on credit not sure there were credit cards in my nans day but I guess money was borrowed. If shoes were bought outright, it was ok to put the on the table etc. If bought on credit, they stayed on the floor.