Friday, 13 September 2013

Friday Five: Friday 13th and other superstitions

Today is Friday 13th. I have no superstitious belief about this whatsoever. We got married on the 13th so every now and then we will have a wedding anniversary on Friday 13th. We actually got married on a Saturday, but the date was considered so unlucky by many that we were able to book the church and the reception venue without difficulty, although either side was booked up for months.

Considering this I thought to myself that I am not superstitious at all, although I am involved with theatre and many theatrical people supposedly are. As children we used to pull the wishbone of chickens (and the Christmas turkey) apart and the one with the bigger bit got to make a wish. I can’t remember what happened to the ‘loser’ but it was certainly nothing bad. We also used to wish on shooting stars and birthday candles (I still do, but it’s always the same wish, and no, I’m not telling or it won’t come true…) and pretend we had found four-leaf clovers by splitting one of the petals in half.

I never had a rabbit’s foot, but that was probably because I thought it was creepy. Neither did I set much store by the lore about black cats – mainly because I couldn’t remember if they were meant to be lucky or unlucky (apparently if a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it) and I have shared my life with two black cats (Wraith and Hatstand) and couldn’t imagine either of them to be harbingers of doom.

I have since discovered that, it is supposedly unlucky to wear opals unless you were born in October, which is fortunate as I do and I was. My mother always used to say it was bad luck to put shoes on the table, but I always assumed this was for hygiene reasons as much as anything. So I never considered myself remotely superstitious, but recently I realised I do many things which emanate from old wives’ tales. I do them unthinkingly, however, and I suspect they are more to do with the customs with which I was raised than any deeper meaning.

5 Superstitions I Follow:
  1. Walking under a ladder – I don’t do it. Admittedly, this is because there is a possibility something might fall on my head, but I have been known to step into the road to avoid them.
  2. I never open umbrellas indoors – I’ve lived in some very small English houses before where there simply isn’t room.
  3. When I spill salt, I throw some over my left shoulder with my right hand – this is meant to be flung on the face of the devil who waits over your left shoulder (he’s sinister you see) but it does create more mess to clean up.
  4. I don’t like to have thirteen people at the dinner table. I won’t make a fuss about it or anything but it does make me slightly uncomfortable – the last supper and the great betrayal and all that.
  5. I knock on wood after mentioning good fortune so evil spirits won’t ruin it. I know it makes no sense and I don’t why I do it, but I do. So there.

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