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The Surprising Origins of Common Superstitions

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Post by Dragon on Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:10 am

"It's bad luck to open an umbrella indoors."
"In eighteenth-century London, when metal-spoked waterproof umbrellas began to become a common rainy-day sight, their stiff, clumsy spring mechanism made them veritable hazards to open indoors. A rigidly spoked umbrella, opening suddenly in a small room, could seriously injure an adult or a child, or shatter a frangible object. Even a minor accident could provoke unpleasant words or a minor quarrel, themselves strokes of bad luck in a family or among friends. Thus, the superstition arose as a deterrent to opening an umbrella indoors."

"It's bad luck to walk under a leaning ladder."
This superstition really does originate 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. A ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, and Egyptians regarded this shape as sacred (as exhibited, for example, by their pyramids). To them, triangles represented the trinity of the gods, and to pass through a triangle was to desecrate them.

This belief wended its way up through the ages. "Centuries later, followers of Jesus Christ usurped the superstition, interpreting it in light of Christ's death," Panati explained. "Because a ladder had rested against the crucifix, it became a symbol of wickedness, betrayal, and death. Walking under a ladder courted misfortune."

In England in the 1600s, criminals were forced to walk under a ladder on their way to the gallows.

"A broken mirror gives you seven years of bad luck."
In ancient Greece, it was common for people to consult "mirror seers," who told their fortunes by analyzing their reflections. As the historian Milton Goldsmith explained in his book "Signs, Omens and Superstitions" (1918), "divination was performed by means of water and a looking glass. This was called catoptromancy. The mirror was dipped into the water and a sick person was asked to look into the glass. If his image appeared distorted, he was likely to die; if clear, he would live."

In the first century A.D., the Romans added a caveat to the superstition. At that time, it was believed that peoples' health changed in seven year cycles . A distorted image resulting from a broken mirror therefore meant seven years of ill-health and misfortune, rather than outright death.

"When you spill salt, toss some over your left shoulder to avoid bad luck."
Spilling salt has been considered unlucky for thousands of years. Around 3,500 B.C., the ancient Sumerians first took to nullifying the bad luck of spilled salt by throwing a pinch of it over their left shoulders. This ritual spread to the Egyptians, the Assyrians and later, the Greeks.

The superstition ultimately reflects how much people prized (and still prize) salt as a seasoning for food. The etymology of the word "salary" shows how highly we value it. According to Panati: "The Roman writer Petronius, in the Satyricon, originated 'not worth his salt' as opprobrium for Roman soldiers, who were given special allowances for salt rations, called salarium 'salt money' the origin of our word 'salary.'"

Source


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Post by Cloud on Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:46 pm

Very interesting. Always wondered where they originated from I love you


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Post by Dragon on Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:12 am

Carried on to this day, when the originality of 'superstition' are now obsolete, like spiky lethal umbrellas, and salt not a form of currency.

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Post by Button on Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:58 pm

What is your superstions do you have any I?
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Post by PurpleGoddess on Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:10 pm

I have always had superstitions about mirrors being broken which cause 7 years of bad luck and the opening of the umbrella in the house.
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Post by Dragon on Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:22 am

Locking this Thread to avoid double-posting, as a similar had already been started already started:

Go to:
*New* Everything Else *New

Broken Mirrors, Ladders, Black cats. Anybody else here superstitious?


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Post by Cloud on Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:07 am

I still don't open umbrellas indoors either. *crosses fingers* the bad luck can stay out


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