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Thread: Superstitions and where they come from

  1. #1
    Boomer Sooner SCRUMPOT's Avatar
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    Where do superstitions come from?

    I wonder..........

    How come I don't let someone pass me on the stairs?
    How come I throw spilled salt over my sholder?
    Why do I pick up a heads up penny and put in my shoe?

    I know it is not my obsessive compulsions. Where did these and other superstitions start and why?

    Inquiring minds..........


    "People are strange, when you're a stranger" - Jim Morrison

  2. #2
    Princess
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    Many superstitions come from practical/safety reasons.
    E.g.: opening an umbrella indoors, leaving keys on the table, walking under a ladder.
    Some are simply superstitions, often connected with religious beliefs.
    E.g. spitting 3 times over your left shoulder if a black cat cross the street in front of you
    Some are related to the conditions of the times they were "invented" in.
    E.g. Throwing some salt away each time you use it (or as you said, "throw spilled salt over my sholder").

    I believe most superstitions fall under the first cathegory.

  3. #3
    Glad 4 Vlad! :) Tigrazhia's Avatar
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    I can answer some of that.

    The stair thing:
    Originally from old traditions, it is the courtesy of a man to walk infront of the women when going up the stairs and behind the woman going back down, because women were wearing skirts & it wasn't polite for a man to walk BEHIND the woman (i.e taking a free peek up their skirts)
    I believe the "no passing someone in the stairs" originated from this tradition, and of course has been bent and twisted to suit our modern beliefs.

    Walking under ladders:
    Comes from old religious beliefs. The ladder, the wall & the floor creates a triangle.... i,e the father, the son and the holy spirit...and if you walk under the ladder you "defy the holy trinity" .....

    Knock on wood:
    This one is an old...oh wait, they're all old. It comes from a time where people thought that trees were the homes of the gods. So whenever a person wanted something they would go to the trees and touch the bark while asking for the favor, then knock on it again to say "Thank you" to their deity.

    Throwing Salt:
    Way back when (yet again), salt was believed to keep evil spirits away, ghosts for instance, to enter holy places like churches, or altars or similar places, and any places that were haunted.
    So salt would be sprinkled in corners to keep vampires and witches away. I'm sure the throwin salt over your shoulder is originated from this belief.

    Black cats:
    Witches often kept black cats, and it was believed that when people saw a black cat, it was actually the witch itself who had transformed and was out doing mischief.
    I think this can even relate further back to Egyptian mythology & Bast.

    Lucky pennies, rabbits foots and other lucky items:
    Based on old beliefs that items have a spirit, which will protect them against evil & grant them good luck.

    Although I have no idea about the "heads up" part, maybe cause its bad to have rub whoever's face is on the penny in the dirt? lol.
    Or maybe it has something to do with facing upwards towards God (since a lot of superstitions have religious origins ....)

    Breaking a mirror:
    A mirror is said to reflect your soul (think of vampires & mirrors) and to break it means that you're harming your soul in some way.


    Hmmm....that's all I can think of right now. Don't know if you can tell but supersition is one of my favorite topics... lol.
    "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."

  4. #4
    COMBAT MISSIONS junkie! BravoFan's Avatar
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    Superstitions

    That's different than OCD, right?

    I can't change the calendar until the new month begins ....even at work if the first of the month is on a Saturday, I won't change it before I leave on Friday. To me it just seems like bad luck....like I'm assuming I'll make it to the future. Maybe that is OCD?
    "They can only edit what you give them. They cannot manufacture a fictional character out of thin air." (Bill Rancic - 4/04)
    Regarding editing reality TV: "You can't edit IN a bad personality." ("Cali"-11/02)
    BB8 - A "conveyor belt of human garbage." ("Pono" - 9/07)

  5. #5
    Leo
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    Well, here's one superstition of mine. Whenever I have an exam that I didn't do so well, when they give the papers back to us, I tear it to little bits and throw it in the trash can. If it really sucked, then I take it home and burn it.

    I think all that means is I'm crazy.

  6. #6
    COMBAT MISSIONS junkie! BravoFan's Avatar
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    Ooooh, I always knock on the outside of the plane 3 times as I step off the jetway onto the plane. People look at me funny, but I hope they realize that I have saved their lives because now the plane is totally safe.
    "They can only edit what you give them. They cannot manufacture a fictional character out of thin air." (Bill Rancic - 4/04)
    Regarding editing reality TV: "You can't edit IN a bad personality." ("Cali"-11/02)
    BB8 - A "conveyor belt of human garbage." ("Pono" - 9/07)

  7. #7
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I don't have any.
    When I was younger, my mums mum was superstitious so we used to do anything we could to win her up, walk under ladders etc. Mean kids
    "That's Numberwang!"

  8. #8
    Glad 4 Vlad! :) Tigrazhia's Avatar
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    With the new superstition thread, I remembered this one from before, figured I'd bump it
    "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."

  9. #9
    COMBAT MISSIONS junkie! BravoFan's Avatar
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    My dad thinks my calendar thing is OCD.
    "They can only edit what you give them. They cannot manufacture a fictional character out of thin air." (Bill Rancic - 4/04)
    Regarding editing reality TV: "You can't edit IN a bad personality." ("Cali"-11/02)
    BB8 - A "conveyor belt of human garbage." ("Pono" - 9/07)

  10. #10
    FORT Fogey eldee's Avatar
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    The only one I've heard about is if someone sneezes you say "God Bless You" so another spirit/demon doesn't enter that person at that time.

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