Tradition and Superstition

26 Mar

See a penny, pick it up

All the day you’ll have good luck.

I got out of the car and saw it on the road between the curb and the rear tire. A penny! I chanted the ditty in my head as I picked it up. Then, I paused. There was something odd about this penny.


It was made of plastic, the kind of penny  you see in a classroom math set. Did that mean the deal promised by the poem is off? Did it mean no luck? Bad luck? I mulled it over and laughed as I did so. I didn’t really believe picking up the penny meant good luck, I just liked the tradition and it got me thinking about some of the other superstitious traditions I’ve inherited, mostly from my mother.

My mother would always spoon up bubbles in her tea. Drinking the bubbles that way meant she’d get money. I simply drink the bubbles, so maybe that’s why I’ve never benefitted from them.

You know those shivers you get for no reason? Mom always said they meant that someone just stepped on the spot that will be your grave.

She taught some lessons, I still follow. Giving a knife as a gift, though practical for bridal showers can be a source of bad luck that might sever the relationship. To combat this evil, you give  a penny with the knife, which the recipient returns to you as a “payment”, saving the friendship. If giving someone a wallet or purse, you need to put a silver coin inside, to ensure that it will never be empty. Silly, but I can’t help myself.

Weather obsessive that I am, I still recite Red sky at night/ Sailor’s delight./ Red sky in the morning/Sailors take warning when I see a red sky. Sometimes it is accurate, sometimes not, but I keep on doing it.

Living in the big city, I don’t often get crickets in the house, but we seemed to get them frequently when I was a kid. Although she would hunt down all other insects, my mother always left crickets alone because they symbolized good luck. She told us not to kill spiders because doing so would cause rain. I carry spiders outside to safety and say “Spiders are our grade friends” because that is what I say and do in my classroom, but my mom’s warning always runs through my brain.

I grew up knowing that breaking a mirror brought you seven years bad luck, as did opening an umbrella in the house and walking under a ladder.  I still toss salt over my left shoulder when I spill some, not because I believe it will prevent bad luck, but just in case it might.

We pulled wishbones at Thanksgiving for good luck and were warned not to cry on our birthdays because doing so would mean we would cry all year.

And we never, ever stepped on crack!


8 Responses to “Tradition and Superstition”

  1. macksworldsite March 26, 2016 at 5:55 am #

    I try not to be superstitious, but I can’t help it sometimes. A bird flew into our house a few months ago and I’m still uneasy about it.

  2. Pat March 26, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Yes, you sure didn’t want to break your Mother’s back!

  3. elsie March 26, 2016 at 7:42 am #

    Some of those superstitions I knew, but others were new to me. Isn’t it funny how little bits get ingrained into our lives.

  4. arjeha March 26, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    Of course we can’t forget black cats crossing our path or walking under a ladder.

  5. Joanne Toft March 26, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Funny how so many of these I still do as well. I always did them with my kids. I wonder if they do them now. Another one was holding our breath as we drove past the cemetery. Fun to think about all these.

  6. Vesta Wynkoop March 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    Wonderful and fun post.

  7. mrssurridge March 26, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    This was a fun read. And so well written. Amazing all the thoughts a plastic penny my bring.

  8. Peg D March 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    I love those superstitions. I learned so many growing up. Kids today don’t know them. I learned a new one recently about pennies. If you find a penny it was put there to tell you someone in heaven is thinking of you. I like that much better than trying to remember if heads or tails is the good luck side. 🙂

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