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Friday, 13 September 2013

Friday Five- Five superstitions I completely believe

Happy Friday 13th!

Not my favourite day, I must admit, being the superstitious old fool that I am. So far, touch wood, I've managed to avoid calamity (although I do feel as if I've now jinxed myself- there's still a few hours of this terrible day left). That's in spite of seeing magpies, a black cat and passing someone on the stairs! Maybe it's the special "confusing demons" charm I taught to a colleague today...

I follow so many, and have done for so long, that I barely notice them now. It was interesting, when writing Superstition, to actually examine objectively the bizarre rituals I believe keep me safe and lucky. I did exaggerate some for Laura's character, but I also left quite a few more out completely, as they were just too weird!

Anyway, on the most superstition-riddled day, what else can I write about for my Friday Five than the five superstitions I follow most closely and would never dare break? Welcome to my strange little world...

1. I never walk under ladders
-and, to my knowledge, never have. I won't even walk under scaffolding if I can help it, just in case there is a ladder somewhere up above. Apparently, this superstition began back in the days when hanging was common, and the only person to walk under the ladder to climb up to the platform of the gallows was the condemned. I've also heard though, that a ladder against a wall represents the holy trinity, and walking through it is disrespectful and will incur misfortune. I just worry about buckets landing on my head...

2. I always throw spilled salt over my left shoulder
Salt was precious, long ago, and spilling it was surely the work of bad spirits so, in order to blind them and prevent them causing further mischief, throwing a pinch over the left shoulder (where they sit) was recommended. I must have found out about this one when I was very small, as I've done it for as long as I can remember. It was a bit of a nightmare when I worked in a chip shop, though...

3. I'm right-footed for EVERYTHING!
I believe this one started with the Romans (although I'm happy to be corrected) and is also linked to New Year, new houses etc. Basically, the first step should be the right one- in this case, literally. I take this a bit far though and, if you ever see me doing an odd shuffle before going through a doorway or holding one shoe while I look for the other one, you'll now know why. Don't judge me...

4. I won't pick up scissors or knives
I can find no verification of this belief, but I think that picking up sharp things I have dropped is unlucky. It's OK for someone else to pick them up, and I can pick up something dropped by someone else, but if I'm the one who dropped them, I usually wait for someone to be polite and offer. If I'm really stuck, I have to step over them backwards or grind them with my heel before I pick them up. You can judge me for that one- it is the strangest!

5. I won't change bedding on a Friday or Sunday
I can't remember how this started, but I firmly believe that changing the bedding or turning a mattress on these days will bring a week of bad dreams. Luckily, Saturday is the day I do my laundry anyway (no time during the week for big jobs) so this is probably the easiest one to manage!
OK, maybe this one is the strangest...

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I'd love to hear yours. What superstitions do you follow? Or do you think it's a load of rot? Feel free to comment!

Stay lucky and have a great weekend x

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