{12/12/2012}   Superstitions

While pondering what to write about this lovely frosty morning, I noticed that today is 12/12/12 and whenever I see such dates I am reminded of being in Japan where people like to buy train tickets with these dates on them.  It has subsequently always seemed to me like a good omen and it will be the last for a few years as there is no 13th month.  I do not think of myself as being superstitious but there are certain things I most definitely will or won’t do.

Magpies.  If I don’t doff my imaginary cap and say, “Good morning, Mr Magpie, how’s (sic) your wife and children?”, I do at least look around for a second magpie to make it all seem ok.  I used to be marginally obsessive about doffing but I’ve chilled a bit about that, particularly as I don’t mind magpies as much as I used to think I did.

Ladders.  I will do everything possible to avoid walking under them, though to a degree that is a practical issue as there is always a chance someone is up said ladder and could easily drop something on you.  No, I realise now that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone up a ladder across a pavement, for example, it’s purely a superstition thing and I don’t even know why, I just know you don’t walk under ladders, irrespective of whether there is an obvious danger above.

I also sometimes get a sudden feeling that I should or shouldn’t do something in particular, and these are things I’m probably most superstitious about.  Now I think about this, I fear it could sound a bit weird but I might be walking along and suddenly a thought will pop into my head that I have to touch a branch of the tree above and I will of course do so.  Fear not, these are never dangerous things, they are always about touching or avoiding things.  Yes, the more I think about this the more odd it sounds.  Hmm.

In Japan, people are superstitious about cutting their nails after dark.  For some reason, this made sense to me and I only ever cut my nails in the day.  I have no idea what would happen if you cut them at night and it’s crazy to adopt that superstition as I never had an issue with it before I went to Japan.  But without doubt, nail cutting should be done during the day.

Friday 13th.  I always feel a bit twitchy on this date but I don’t think it ever has or ever would stop me from doing something on that date.  But I know some people refuse to fly, for example.

Black cats.  Now this is an odd one because I can’t remember if black cats is a good or bad thing and I kind of don’t want to know because I like cats and don’t want to feel I should be bothered if one walks in front of me or behind me or whatever.  But whenever I see a black cat I feel more aware of it than I would any other cat.  I like black cats though.

Smashing a mirror.  Well, it’s obvious: you get seven years of bad luck.  Horrid, horrid thought and I would feel awful if I ever broke a mirror … said as I reach across for a wooden table.  Ah, yes, touching wood.  It’s like the dock leaf to the stinging nettle of superstitions!  By merely touching wood, you can kind of make everything ok again, though is it British “humour” that so often people touch their head as the “wood”?!

Oh, umbrellas and not opening them indoors.  I bought an umbrella the other day and wanted to see if it stood a chance at not snapping under the slightest breeze so I opened it in the shop.  I felt stares being directed at me.  I didn’t click it fully open though, I think that made it ok?

I expect if I keep thinking I will come up with more (weddings, for example, are positively littered with them!) and I do always find it slightly bemusing how rational people can be so insistent on adhering to certain superstitions.  I find it more and more fascinating the more I think about it!


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