Cultural Beliefs in Britain: Strange Superstitions
In honour of Halloween next week, we have dedicated this blog to superstitions; everyone has them but we don’t always know where they come from.
Every culture has their particular superstitions: don’t walk under ladders or scaffolding, black cats are unlucky, 13 is an unlucky number, seeing ravens means someone you know will die soon, horseshoes bring luck, etc. There are also certain groups of people that are more superstitious than others, for example actors, sailors and athletes. Actors can never whistle backstage, or say the name Macbeth – you must always call it the Scottish play. Sailors believed that an albatross was a sign of hope and killing one would bring bad luck.
The list of strange superstitions is long, and there are some strange ones.
Come and have a look at the weirdness of British culture:
- If the ravens of the Tower of London leave, then the Crown will be lost.
- Black rabbits have human souls and white ones used to be witches.
- You will have bad luck if you spill salt. You must throw salt over your back to counteract the effect.
- For luck, brides must wear something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new
- If you say ‘white rabbit’ three times on the first day of the month, it will bring you luck for the rest of the month.
- Don’t eat lettuce if you want to have children.
- Magpies are a bird that you have to greet every time you see it; when you see a magpie say “Hello Mr Magpie, how is your lady wife today?”. There was also a children’s rhyme written about them:
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.
- Cutting off the end of a loaf of bread makes the devil fly over your house.
- Bread will not rise if there is a dead body nearby.
- If you visit a new born child, put a silver coin in its hands.
Somerset & Dorset
- A double-yolked egg means that you will have twins. It used to mean that someone would get married quickly due to a pregnancy.
- A slow boiling kettle will have a toad inside of
- Stirring food in the opposite direction of the sun will ruin it.
Did you find any of these strange or weird? Do you want to share any strange superstitions that you believe in? Let us know about them!