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Superstitions and Old Wives’ Tales

Superstitions and Old Wives Tales often sound suspiciously similar and, in fact, many of these sayings show up on both lists. It’s fun to read about these things, and to see how many of them we’ve heard before.

By Joan Whetzel

Superstitions and Old Wives’Tales have been around since time immemorial. Superstitions are seen as beliefs with no logical or sound foundation and Old Wives’Tales, once based in truth, are now considered merely unproven, time-honored beliefs. Read on to find out if some of your beliefs might actually fall under the categories of Superstitions or Old Wives’ Tales. Following a description of each is a list of some of the more popular Superstitions and Old Wives’ Tales.

 

 

What Are Superstitions?

Some of the superstitions we hold are just for fun (e.g. an itchy palm means you’ll have luck or you have money coming your way) while others can be so deep-seated that they affect the way a person lives his or her life. For example, the superstition that if a person doesn’t get out of the bed on the same side he or she got in on, they will suffer bad luck, could lead to a compulsive need to always get into and out of bed on the same side. Why tempt fate?

 

Superstition can be defined as a belief in  supernatural or mystical causes for certain events or occurrences. In other words, certain things happen (good luck or bad luck) because of some uncanny, unexplainable, magical intervention, events or occurrences that could be described as nothing short of miraculous because there was no other way of explaining them. During the “Age of Enlightenment in the 1700s, Christian doctrine scorned belief in miracles, reducing them to superstitions and equating belief in miracles with belief in magic, which was considered sinful. In fact the Catechism of the Catholic Church deems superstition to sinful because it demonstrates a lack of faith in Divine Providence, which breaks the First Commandment.

 

While some superstitions may be suggest or represent religious practices (Voodoo for instance), most apply to views and customs about good or bad luck, the prophesying on the prospects of things that will happen based on previous events that are totally unconnected, and to spiritual beings.

 

A List of Superstitions

Bad Luck

·         Friday, the 13th, an unlucky day

·         The number 13

·         Breaking a mirror, which brings bad luck for 7 years

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