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Pandora's avatar

What weird or unusual superstition or old wives tales do you know?

Asked by Pandora (28090points) August 22nd, 2011

I saw something today about superstitions and I figured that it would be fun to hear of some unusual superstitions/old wives tales from different lands.
Please say what country or nationality the superstition comes from.
I remember in Japan, we were told not to leave chop sticks sticking out of your bowl. It was suppose to bring bad luck to the restaurant. Don’t remember the reason behind it though.
Growing up in the United States, you don’t step on a street crack or your break your mothers back.
Growing up in a Puerto Rican household (although I do not know if this is solely a Puerto Rican superstition) you don’t sweep over your feet or you’ll never get married.
This is just for fun. I hope to hear some interesting superstitions. If you know the history behind any of them, I would be glad to hear them.

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15 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

In Hawaii, it’s said picking lehua blossoms brings rain.

Near Kilauea volcano, it is said to watch for an old woman hitchhiking alone at night. If you see her, you should always give her a ride, because she might be Pele(deity) the goddess of fire. If she doesn’t get a ride, she will engulf homes and buildings in the fire of her lava.

Pandora's avatar

@hawaii_jake Where is she trying to go? So if you don’t pick her up maybe picking the blossoms may help keep your house from burning.
Hmm. It does sound creepy though. So does that mean that old women often get rides in Hawaii?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Pandora : lol. I’ve honestly never seen an old woman hitchhiking at any time of day or night, so I don’t know. It’s meant to sound creepy. Pele is not to be messed with.

Pandora's avatar

When I turn 70 I’m going to Hawaii and hitchhike. LOL

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Rolling a newborn baby girl in bread dough will prevent hirsuteness in adulthood. I have no idea of its origin, but my Ukrainian grandmother did it to all of us. Not that it matters, because most of us are naturally blonde.

Pandora's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Oh, thats an amusing one. Poor kid. That does remind me of another one about not cutting your babies hair because the texture will change. Not sure of the origin of that one.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Have you heard about the Christmas Pickle? It’s not a real pickle, but a Christmas tree ornament. It is the last ornament to be placed on the tree and is hidden. The first person to find it on Christmas morning received an extra present from St. Nick, as well as a year of good luck.

What about eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day? Scroll down a bit. Mom has served them on NY Day for as long as I can remember. We were told that eating them would bring us good luck.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer good one. We actually have a pickle in our tree every year. :)

ucme's avatar

My grandma used to tell me to hop over a bridge, this would prevent any trolls that may be lurking beneath from grabbing me. Bless, dementia is a cruel mistress!

martianspringtime's avatar

I’ve heard that you “shouldn’t sew on yourself”.
I actually just sewed a button on my flannel while wearing it, so I guess I’m testing that one out today. More to come on that then.
or is there…>

Pandora's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Oh, glad I didn’t grow up with that one. The tree would’ve been a mess with 5 kids all jumping on it at the same time. Sounds fun though and a great incentive to take down the christmas tree ornaments. :)
Black eye peas is actually common. Many people in the south follow that one.
@ucme I think the whole troll thing probably came about from ambushes at bridges from highway robs. So maybe she got confused and meant to say to get over bridges quickly before you get rolled. Grandma was ahead of her time. LOL
@martianspringtime LOL Yeah, that just makes sense. You bend over to get closer to what your sewing and oops! I tried sewing my hem at work one time after it fell out. I really don’t recommend doing it on a rolling chair. Lets just say it wasn’t one of my shinny moments. After that I just bought clothing adhesive tape for hems and safety pins for buttons that fall off.

augustlan's avatar

My husband, who grew up in West Virginia, has a ton of these. The only one I can remember at the moment is a home remedy for boils: Slap a piece of “side meat” (some kind of pork from the side of a pig) on it, and wrap gauze around it. Supposedly, the salt in the meat draws out the contents of the boil. Can you imagine going to school like that? Ha.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Pandora I’ve never seen a Christmas pickle. I learned about them when researching Christmas traditions on the internet. We’ll have to defer to @ANef_is_Enuf how it works in using one, as she has personal experience.

As for the black-eyed peas, the parents are from northern US and claim to be of German descent, not Jewish, and in no way are superstitious, so I have no idea why they took on this tradition. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of them really likes the yucky things and the other doesn’t. It may have come to some sort of pact to serve them once a year when they moved to the South.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

We’ve never had a problem with it, but I can see how it might bring about scary images of your tree crashing down. :) The kids are always really intent and focused on finding it, and we don’t give an extra gift, we just let the finder open the first gift of the morning.

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