Superstitions

There is a huge pot of lentil soup on the stove top. It’s one of the many foods that is supposed to bring you good luck in the New Year. (Because the shape of a lentil resembles a coin, Italians eat them all throughout the first day of the year).

I’m not Italian, nor am I superstitious- not in the least.

I’m sure you’ve heard of other foods that are supposed to start your year off right: black-eyed peas, pork, cabbage, noodles…it depends a lot on your cultural background.

The definition of the word superstition has the word irrational in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m plenty irrational about other things- just not superstitions.

There are many superstitious countries, but the one that is a standout from the rest is India. If I believed in all their superstitions, I’d stay in bed to avoid life. They even have rules about which days you can or can’t cut your nails.

In France, if you step in dog poo with your left foot- that’s OK, but if you do it with your right foot, you will have a very bad day. Both options seem unfavorable. Either way, there is poop on your shoe.

The number 4 in China is considered cursed because the word for four and death sound very similar. Women in Rwanda shouldn’t eat goat because they will grow a beard like a goat. That sounds like some male conspiracy to keep all the goat meat to himself.

There are lucky symbols everywhere: elephants, bamboo, lucky cats, evil eyes, dream catcher’s, horseshoes, a rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clovers, etc.

Old wives’ tales abound: swallowed gum takes years to digest, an apple a day keeps the doctor a way, spicy foods cause ulcers, spilling salt brings bad luck, etc.

Do you remember “step on a crack and break your mother’s back?” Who came up with that one?! Definitely some mother issues.

A few people I know put a lot of stock in astrology and/or horoscopes. I’m still not sure what happens when “Mercury goes into retrograde,” but this is a point of great concern for them.

Crystals are touted as healers. They are said to have energy. But, to me, they are just pretty rocks. (Yes, I know crystals and rocks are different…stay calm). Even if I wanted to, I don’t have time to spend exploring all this “extra” stuff.

I’m glad my life isn’t determined by broken mirrors, black cats, rocks or stars. Who do I have to thank? Stevie Wonder. That’s right…Stevland Hardaway Morris. He wrote a short song called “Superstition” and convinced me to ignore such things at a very young age.

Very superstitious, nothin’ more to say. Very superstitious, the devil’s on his way…    When you believe in things that you don’t understand. Then you suffer, superstition ain’t the way.”

And if you embrace superstition, maybe start your year with a celebration that can’t lose. Roast yourself a pig because it’s the year of the pig on the Chinese Zodiac. While you eat, put coins into your piggy bank. Then, enjoy a marzipan dessert pig from Scandinavia.

Oh, but don’t even speak the word pig if you’re on a boat. Apparently, that is extremely bad luck. It’s really quite hard to keep track…

Happy New Year!! May your year not get cluttered with the “extra,” when it can be filled with truth.

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”             ― Groucho Marx

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