Superstitions Abound from Religion

Superstitions Abound from Religion

Alexus Nichols, Reporter

Superstitions are heard everywhere, in bedtime stories as a child, horror stories from friends, and thriller movies. Superstitions are spread to help people avoid being cursed with bad luck. Many people don’t believe in them without knowing why, claiming that they are only stories. Whether you believe or not in these superstitions, they weren’t fabricated overnight; in fact, they have origins. Many of them come from religious backgrounds and other times it can be from the Egyptians, Vikings, or Romans.

The number 13 is not only an odd number to superstitious people, it’s a sign, especially if it falls on a Friday. This number and date originates from multiple places. For Christians, it relates to the Last Supper because there were 13 people attending. For Vikings, it was during an infant’s birthday, when uninvited guests showed up and brought the attendance to 13 people, and the last guest cursed the baby. Ancient Persians were terrified of this number because they believed that the 12 constellations of the zodiac would each rule the earth for a thousand years and eventually, when the cycle ended the world would as well. Fear of the number 13 and of “Friday the Thirteenth” is so common that there are even names for it, paraskevidekatriaphobia and triskaidekaphobia.

Black cats actually meant good luck to people, especially to Pagans, non-religious groups or communities; another word for them would be polytheists. They meant so much to Pagans that Christians started telling everyone that the cats were evil. So many stories tie black cats to witches, and this is ironic since Christians also used to accuse Pagans of being witches.

Breaking a mirror is sometime used as a rude joke against others to define them as being unattractive, yet for some this may hit home far more than the accuser expects. A few hundred of years ago, Romans used to believe that their invention, the mirrors, could steal part of a person’s soul. So, if someone broke a mirror his/her soul would be trapped and the person could no longer fight off evil. Luckily, they also believed that one’s soul could be restored after seven years. Some found ways to speed up this process; a person could bury the glass under a tree during a full moon or grind the pieces into fine dust.

Another superstition is walking under ladders. This was originated from, once again, Christians. When a ladder is put up against a wall it takes the shape of a triangle (wall, ladder, ground), the Holy Trinity triangle, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By walking under the ladder, one breaks the triangle and are believed to be in league with Satan.

Have you ever knocked on wood to prevent from jinxing yourself? This belief comes from the Pagans who claim that all living materials contains spirits, and when a tree was cut down the spirit would die. This allowed evil to overcome the hollow tree and sprites would take over. This would curse anyone around this dead tree, for their plans and future to not work out. Yet, if you knocked on the wood it would drive away the evil.

Salt was very valuable back then, but that is not why throwing it behind your shoulder causes bad luck. In fact, it can mean something good depending on the shoulder you throw it behind. It is believed that the devil sits on your left shoulder and by throwing salt at him you can keep him away for a little while.

Not every superstition is bad, for example a rabbit’s foot is a very old superstition, from 600 BCE. Celtics would kill rabbits and keep the foot as a good luck charm. They would also send young Celtics in training on a hunt to kill a rabbit and the foot would symbolize the boys transition into manhood.

Not believing in superstitions doesn’t make them untrue just as much as believing them doesn’t make them real, but everything has a background, a history.