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5 Superstitions and Why They Exist

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5 Superstitions and Why They Exist

By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline

I was at work a few years ago when a coworker walking by my desk let out a terrified squeal. ďYour purse is on the floor! Donít you know thatís bad luck?Ē Apparently, she was referring to a superstition which holds that to place your purse or wallet on the floor is to invite money troubles. I had never heard of this old wivesí tale and didnít lend it much credibility, but on my way home, I did notice my lifelong habit of avoiding sidewalk cracks, surely a leftover from a youthful urge to protect my motherís spinal health.

Superstitions ascribe supernatural origins to things that humans donít understand, and they occur across the world. Early humans had a lot that they didnít understand, but modern people are much more enlightened. Superstitions about bad luck feel like the kind of things we tell gullible children, so why do I still see people knocking on wood, throwing salt over their shoulders, and refusing to walk under ladders? Exactly where do these strange superstitions come from, and do any have even the tiniest basis in reality?

Donít Spill the Salt!
Salt is one of our most ancient and versatile foodstuffs, used for preserving food as well as flavoring it. For most of history, it was incredibly valuable, too, sometimes even used as currency. Spilling such a precious commodity was akin to dumping the thirty-year-old Scotch down the drain. For anyone who was careless enough to waste salt, throwing a pinch over the left shoulder was said to keep the devil away, since he was sure to be following you after such a grievous offense.

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4:24AM PST on Nov 10, 2014

Thank you for sharing. It's important to understand our traditions.

4:12AM PST on Nov 10, 2014

I was in a production of the Scottish play a couple of years ago - and there were an unusual number of accidents!

1:59PM PST on Nov 4, 2014

Some of these I have heard before, but I had never heard the one about Macbeth. Thanks!

1:32PM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Interesting,thanks for sharing

5:44PM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

Actually, Friday the thirteenth became to be considered unlucky because that was the day that the Church ordered the attempted annihilation of the Knights Templar. It occured on Friday, October Thirteenth.

7:29PM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

Cool. Thanks!

4:12PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012


1:45AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

now that makes sense

9:35PM PST on Feb 17, 2012


9:25AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

i dont believe in superstitions. i do tell my kids if i remember them and we laugh about them. interesting article

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