Friday, October 24, 2008

Superstitions

Awesome Friday! I have some personal information I want to share before I start my blog this week.

First, I’m participating in a Carnival at Bitten By Books Review Site. There is hundreds of dollars worth of contributions for you to win. I will personally be giving away five copies of my book, The Devil’s Den, one copy to five different winners. If you’re interested in checking out the Carnival, here’s the link: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=1364 I will post this link under "Blogs and Other Websites We Enjoy" for your convenience.

As more information becomes available, I will pass it along! The Carnival looks exciting and I’m sure you won’t want to miss it! There’s tons of stuff there to win. Good luck to everyone that participates.

Secondly, if you’re interested in winning a copy of my e-book, The Devil’s Den, I am going to be giving away a copy of it on Friday, October 31st—Halloween Day! I will announce the winner Halloween day at approximately the noon hour Central Standard Time, so that the lucky winner can have it to read Halloween evening if they so desire. To participate in the contest, post a comment to either today’s blog, Sunday’s blog or to my Halloween blog that morning before the noon hour! For each comment you make, you will be entered for a chance to win it. So, if you make three comments, then you will be entered in the drawing three times, upping your chances of winning.

Thirdly, I checked the 2008 Fall Night Owl Romance Awards, I am up to 4% of the votes, which is still a long way from winning. I’m just excited that someone thought enough of my e-book, The Devil’s Den, to vote for it! Thank you to all of those that voted for me. Terry Spear has 9% of the votes—she’s tied for first place!—for her book Heart of the Wolf. Congratulations, Terry!!! If you’re interested in voting for either of us (we’re in separate award categories, so there's no conflict), here’s the link: http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/NORAwards/fall2008norawardseroticebooks.asp

Lastly, I asked my sons to give me a topic for today’s blog. My oldest son could barely comprehend the request. *rolls eyes* I think hormones are getting in the way of his coherent thought process. My youngest son, who is 6, gave me a goofy story instead and I promised to post it for you all. Here it is: “A ghost ate your feet. Boo!” :-) I didn’t say it was great, but I was chuckling at the simple craziness of it. He was standing beside me giggling, with his chest puffed out in pride, as I typed it up for you guys to read.

Now, off to my Friday topic….

Superstitions…

Are you superstitious? Growing up in the South, superstitions have plagued my life. Do you believe in superstitions? Me, I do not particularly think of myself as superstitious and typically scoff at them. I do, however, have a few that we practice in my home because my husband does believe in them. Which is truly crazy because this man does not believe in the supernatural, anything paranormal or in aliens from outer space? His faith lies with God and superstitions, that’s it, nothing else has a place for rationale in his logical thinking. His grandparents and his mother have spoonfed him superstitions all of his life.

So, here are a few superstitions that I could think of and how they got started. I found it interesting. I hope you will too.

1. We cannot wash clothes on New Year’s Day because if we do, my husband says we will wash someone out of our life. I scoffed at this one for many years, but typically we were too busy on New Year’s Day for me to actually test the theory and wash clothes. Not that I want to wash someone out of my life—well, maybe I can think of one or two, but I don’t think I get to pick the recipient. *snaps fingers* Too bad. I'm just kidding...a little. ;-) So, just my luck that the first New Year’s Day that I actually washed clothes, my husband’s grandmother died in October that year. That was in 1990. I haven’t washed again on New Year’s Day until this year, 2008. Forgetting my husband’s fanatical belief in this particular superstition, I put on a load of towels and it was in the rinse cycle by the time he realized what I was doing. He stopped the wash and muttered something about hopefully he had stopped it in time. Strangely enough, my girlfriend’s mother died on October 12th. Is there any validity to this superstition? Seriously, I don’t believe there is, but my husband is convinced. Me, I think it is just bad coincidence. A really bad, morbid coincidence. But…maybe, just maybe...I’ll refrain from washing clothes again on New Year’s Day just to be safe.

2. Spilling Salt and tossing it over your left shoulder. Salt once was very expensive and had many purposes. It was and still is used to purify. Salt has had many uses throughout history. In Greece, slaves were traded for salt. Hence, it’s where we get the saying, “He isn’t worth his salt.” Every grain of spilled salt was once believed to represent future tears in old English beliefs. If this were true, I would be in so much trouble. Spilled salt was believed to arouse enmity to the Germans. Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the angels by looking back at the city of Sodom as it was being destroyed. Jesus referred to his disciples as “the Salt of the Earth.” Matthew 5:13 states, “You are the salt of the earth…” Parallel verses to Matthew 5:13 are Mark 9:49-50 and Luke 14:34-35, wherein he is referring to Christians as “salt”. The famous painting by Leonardo DaVinci, The Last Supper, depicts Judas Escariot—Jesus’ betrayer that led to his crucifixion—has spilled some salt on the table, which was thought to be a portent of evil and bad luck. I could go on and on with all the salt superstitions I found and the numerous biblical references. By throwing a pinch of salt over our shoulder, it is being thrown straight into the Devil’s face who is hanging out over our left shoulder because it is the sinister side of our body. Again, this is not a superstition I adhere to. My husband…well, again, I’ve seen him toss salt over his shoulder more than once when salt has been spilled. He’s so freaky about it that he will toss salt over my shoulder for me when I spill it. I find this upsetting because he’s getting salt all over the floor or counter.

3. Weddings are wrought with superstitions, many of which I participated in because they are considered good luck and it’s become like a tradition. The bride is supposed to wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. There is supposed to be a penny in the bride’s shoe as well…this was most uncomfortable. The “something old” signified that the couple’s friends would stay with them; “something new” was for the couple’s future happiness, health and success; “something borrowed” was for the Bride’s family to give her something as a symbol of their love, but it must be returned to guarantee good fortune; and “something blue” was because the color represented fidelity and constancy. The penny in one’s shoe was supposed to bring the couple prosperity in their wedded years. At the bridal shower, I remember being told that the number of bows I broke while unwrapping the gifts indicated how many children we would have. It is a very old fertility rite to throw confetti, while throwing grains and/or nuts was considered life-giving seeds, which was probably also related to fertility.

4. Breaking a mirror is supposed to cause 7 years of bad luck. This superstition can be traced back to the Romans. However, many cultures believed that a mirror had the ability to possess a portion of the viewer’s soul. So if the viewer’s reflected image was distorted in any fashion, it could mean the viewer’s soul was corrupted. Worse yet, it was believed that a broken mirror reflected that the viewer’s soul was broken, as was the viewer’s health.

5. Walking under a ladder. In medieval times it was thought that a leaning ladder resembled the gallows, so in essence one was playing out their own execution by walking underneath it. Another explanation was that when a ladder is leaning up against a wall, it makes a triangular shape which represented the Holy Trinity. So by walking through the triangular shape, one was violating and desecrating God, and therefore, the violator would fall prey to Satan.

6. Various other superstitions that I won’t go into are, the horseshoe, the four-leaf clover, the wishbone, unlucky number 13, don’t open umbrellas indoors, making a wish when one blows out birthday candles, wishing on a shooting star, saying “break a leg” as opposed to saying “good luck” to actors/actresses, rabbit’s foot, and the list goes on and on, but these were the ones I could think of. The last one I’ll mention is the one I hear from my boys, “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” I just want to know why we can’t break their father’s back instead of ours? I’m tired of getting the raw end of the deal. ;-)

Do you believe in superstitions? Tell me your superstitions, the ones you practice and believe in. Tell me it's a bunch of malarky, but tell me what you think. Remember, your comments enter you for a chance to win a copy of my e-book, The Devil’s Den. If you’ve already read The Devil’s Den, I still want your comments. Just let me know that you’ve already read it.

Reminder to those that participate in the end of Daylight Savings Time, we turn our clocks back next weekend (November 2nd).

I hope everyone’s weekend is made of awesome!

9 deadly screams:

Melissa said...

I really enjoyed this post. I am not superstitious, well maybe a tiny bit. I have to say, the thing with the salt and your husband throwing it over your shoulder, to land on your floor and counter, had me laughing out loud. I would feel the same way. Also, I have never heard of the New Years Day laundry thing. Learn something new everyday.
I can think of a couple, like if you are driving and a black cat crosses your path, you have to make a cross in the air, over your dash, whatever. I have actually done that a lot, not that I really believe, but you know, sometimes you just do things.
Another is knocking on wood. I guess this is a superstition but if you want something to happen, not happen, be true, and so on, when you say it out loud, you knock on wood. I have no idea, but I have also done this one alot.
Another is entering through one door and exiting through a different. I don't know what bad luck this brings, but I have heard it a lot.
Fun post! Thanks for the First Thing Friday Laugh.

Melissa

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks for the comments. I had forgotten about the black cat and knocking on wood superstitions. I have actually done and still do the knocking on wood thing. I think it's supposed to ward off bad luck or something like that. lol Like you I don't believe it will happen if I don't knock on wood, but now it's such a habit I'd probably go into twitching fits if I didn't do it.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post and that I made you laugh. It was fun researching the roots of the various supersitions. I think the black cats have a bad rap though. I've had a couple of black cats and they were all good, lovings cats.

I hope you finish out your weekend with laughter!

Molly Daniels said...

I've never heard the one about washing clothes on New Years'! Like you, I'm too busy to do laundry that day.

We do the salt-over-the-shoulder thing, and knocking on wood. Hubby also 'forces' me to eat beans on New Years'...I hate beans, so I swallow them with a drink of tea! So far, I've not seen any difference in our luck...

My personal superstitions revolve around sports. For example: My beloved Colts have been winning, and it's 'because' I've been wearing my jersey every Sunday. Last week was my parents' anniversary, and I forgot to change. Guess what? They lost, and it's 'my fault'. If I enter the room and my team immediately loses the ball, I have to leave the room. Likewise, if they score while I'm watching, then I get to continue to watch.

Silly, I know...but if it works, hey...

Molly Daniels said...

Oh, there's also the wedding one about saying your vows before the top of the hour...so that as the hands rise, your new life will be positive.

Don't enter me in the contest; I already own DD. And yes, I voted for you m'dear:)

Hahaha...WV is 'brasi'. Last time it was 'lendify':) Do I get some weird ones or what?

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Woohoo, congratulations, Gracen!!! I voted and I've just posted for you too to encourage more votes! Thanks!!! :) Terry

Heart of the Wolf
www.terryspear.com

ddurance said...

I could just picture your son standing there watching you type up his suggestion. LOL

Deidre

Pollyanna said...

I definitely believe in superstitions. I was born into a family who believe in ghosts and life afer death! One of the superstitions is not to sweep out rubbish during Chinese New Year because you may sweep out good luck as well. But I also knock on wood, wear good luck charms and oh, so many other things that I do unconsciously to avoid bad luck. We really don't open umbrellas indoors because it is believed that spirits will enter the house with you if you do so.
Have a great weekend, all.

Gracen Miller said...

Molly, I had forgotten all about the "certain food" superstition on New Year's Day. We have to eat beans for good luck, greens for money and something else that is escaping my memory. This is another one of my husband's superstitions that the entire family is forced to adhere to. lol We forgot the wedding one where it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.

Thanks for the support Terry! That's sweet of you. Good luck to you though, as the last time I looked you were tied for first place!!!! I have my fingers and toes crossed for you. Is it bad luck to cross both? *laughs*

Ddurance, I'm sure he would have come up with more if I had encouraged it, but, of course, I didn't. It tickled him though to see his words up on the screen. lol It's so easy to please a 6 year old. *grins*

Pollyanna, I definitely believe in ghosts and life after death. I've seen ghosts, so I have every reason in the world to believe in them. I'm just not particularly superstitious. I do knock on wood because it's habit and I feel like I'm taking "bad luck" chances if I don't knock on wood. Yeah, that sounds like I'm superstitious. Some of it it's so ingrained and a force of habit, I can't stop myself from it. I do wear certain articles of clothing to my sons' ballgames because I feel like it's bad luck to change it up! ;-) I guess that makes me superstitious in some ways. *laughs*

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Gracen Miller said...

Okie dokie...I plugged all entrants into random.org list randomizer and it picked a winner.

The winner is....MELISSA!!! -

Melissa, e-mail me at gracen.miller@yahoo.com and tell me what format you want the book in...pdf, rtf or lit!!

Happy Halloween!