Old Wives' Tales!
All countries seem to have myths and theories about certain things from not breaking mirrors to saying good morning to magpies.
Old Wives Tales were things that were passed on down generations by word of mouth, hence the name, and a lot of them are still in existence today. Here we take a look at some of the most common ones and the reasoning behind them.
White Rabbits White Rabbits White Rabbits
On the first of every month my mother said we had to say White Rabbits three times as soon as we woke up and before we said any other words and this would bring us good luck for the whole month. This is something that was said throughout the UK and also in parts of the USA and to lots of English speaking countries even to this day. It is thought this stems from rabbits or hares being seen as lucky creatures in the past. In some countries they just say “Rabbit, Rabbit” and it has spread even to Twitter and Facebook posts and tweets on the first of the month.
Wearing The Colour Green Is Bad Luck
My grandma was always really funny about the colour green. She would never wear it and once was really upset my father had bought a green car. A little bit of research later and here is the reason. In the old days in England, green was said to be the favourite colour of the little people. It was said if you wore green too much you would offend them and they would do things like stop your cows from producing milk, steal your children, ruin your crops and all manner of things! This belief only died out around the 1950s, amazingly before that, it was even difficult to buy green fabric for clothes. So it would be some of our grandparents’ generation that would remember this. Of course there is no truth to it and in many countries wearing the colour green is good luck.
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Peacock Feathers In Your House Are Bad Luck
This was one my mother believed in and after one disastrous journey to a wedding when we were taking some of the gifts in our car with us and all manner of things went wrong, I now have this one stuck in my head. We had a flat tyre, got lost, small bump to the car, my sister was car- sick over her bridesmaid dress and as soon as my mother threw them away out of the boot of the car, the rest of the journey was smooth.
To this day I won’t have peacock feathers in the house or on any jewellery. Having researched it this seems to be a very old one and has to do with the shape of the eye in the feather being thought to bring bad luck. Yet again, this is a very English superstition and in many other parts of the world peacock feathers are actually considered good luck.
Cutlery Dropping And Meanings
My mum always used to say that if you dropped a knife on the floor you would have a male visitor, dropped a fork a female visitor and a spoon a child. In some countries the rhyme, ‘If you drop a spoon, you will have company soon’ is used as well. Having googled this one it seems quite common round the world and the dropping of cutlery does seem to represent an unexpected visit but I can’t seem to find the meaning or the history of why. This one will just have to remain a mystery it seems!
Others You May Have Heard…
“Don’t pull a funny face as if the wind changes it will stick like that!”
“Don’t swallow your chewing gum it will stick your inside together!”
“Don’t give scissors or a knife as a present your friendship will be cut.”
“If your nose is itching that means you will get angry.”
“If your ears are burning it means someone is talking about you.”
It's a funny old world!