Superstitions & Myths: What Are They And Where Did They Come From?

Superstitions & myths originated at different times and different places. Find out people believe that breaking a mirror will leave you with seven years of bad luck.

Don't open an umbrella in the house! Heartburn for the pregnant means a baby with a LOT of hair! Do not, I repeat DO NOT walk under a ladder! Spill some salt? Quick, throw some over your left shoulder!

The encyclopedia defines superstition as "belief, half-belief, or practice for which there appears to be no rational substance". There are probably as many superstitions in this world as there are people to create them or pass them on. But where did they come from? The answer to this question varies from one superstition to another. Here are a few of the most common superstitions. While you may have grown up hearing of or perhaps even believing these superstitions, you may not know and may be interested to learn where they originated from.

Breaking a mirror is said to bring bad luck for seven years. This dates back to a time when it was believed that our reflection was a representation of our souls. If we damaged the reflection, we damaged our soul.

Spilling salt is believed to be bad luck. But you are supposed to be able to reverse the bad luck by throwing salt over your left shoulder. The reason that people throw salt over their left shoulder after spilling it is because it was believed that an evil spirit stood behind you to your left. If you threw it over your left shoulder, it would get in his eyes and hopefully scare him off!

If you brag about something or speak aloud of some very good news, you are supposed to knock on wood. Knocking on wood is said to ward off the punishment for bragging. People once believed that evil spirits would become jealous if their good fortune was pointed out to them, and would relieve the bragger of that good fortune. Evil spirits were said to be scared away by the noise of knocking on wood three times, and would not hear of the good fortune.

There are many different superstitions about cats such as ... Never let a black cat cross your path, dreaming about cats means, betrayal, if a cat stares out the window it is going to rain. And of course, a cat has nine lives. Superstitions pertaining to cats is believed to have began in ancient Egypt where the cat was considered

sacred and to kill one was sacrilege. It is thought that the superstitions surrounding the black cat began in the Middle Ages when it was associated with witches. More than likely a woman who was thought to be a witch owned a black cat as a pet. This lead to many different rumors including the cat being able to change it's shape and that it would help the witch to cast spells.

If a person sneezes you are supposed to bless them. This came about during Roman times when people believed that a sneeze could release your soul to the world. They believed that you were having some sort of internal struggle to hold onto your soul and offering you a blessing was a way of helping out. "God Bless you" became the materialization of that assistance. When the Black Death plague came about in 1348 AD sneezing became a sign of the sick and infected. It meant the person was going to die so it became customary and law to bless the sneezer.

There are superstitions surrounding just about anything you can think of. Many people believe them to be true and will base their entire lives around them. While others think they're just old wives tales or made up nonsense. Whatever the case may be, the history surrounding these superstitions is fascinating. I for one, have enjoyed reading about them ... and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you have too.

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