What are Old Wives' Tales?
Fun with Old Wives' Tales
Have a laugh and share some of these Superstitions
Depending on your culture, your parents or grandparents imparted their wisdom, and you internalized it, and often grew up repeating the same superstitions to your children, and grandchildren. Some of these are a lot of fun today, after technology and improved medical care has shown that most of the Old Wives' Tales we learned as kids have no factual basis of truth.
Eastern European Old Wives' Tales
Superstitions or Wives' Tales?
Living in an Eastern European country, Romania, I was fascinated and frustrated with some of the Old Wives' Tales, or superstitions, that were so prominent in everyday living. I quickly learned that there was an Old Wives' Tale for just about everything, or superstitions that were ingrained in their culture.
I started a list of these Old Wives' Tales and superstitions, and no matter how many I had, there just seemed to be more. Sometimes I thought I was living like the Wilders in the old Little House on the Prairie TV series, before medicine and technology played a big role in dispelling these tales.
The most frustrating one to me was the one about the curant (draft). Both young and old believed that you would get sick if you were in a draft. I traveled a lot by train, and all except for the most expensive Intercity trains were without any type of air-conditioning. It would get sweltering hot in the summer with about 8 people stuffed in a small compartment, and no air. It was unforeseeable to open the window or you would hear," the curant, the curant"! I swear I learned to really dislike that word!
Here are a few of the Old Wives' Tales (superstitions)
1) Sitting on concrete will make you sterile (gives you a cold in your ovaries)
2) If you leave food on your plate then you will get a bad husband
3) If you sit at the corner of the table you will never get married.
4) If a spider falls on your face or clothes, you will receive money.
5) A Pregnant woman should not touch animals and should not steal or her child will have a birthmark.
6) If you hand someone a knife you will sever the friendship (you have to set the knife on the table for them to pick-up)
7) If you see a priest while walking its bad luck (unless your grab a button).
8) You shouldn't knit, sew, or wash laundry between Christmas or New Year or you'll have bad luck
9) Giving an even number of flowers will cause bad luck
Many of the Romania Old Wives' Tales center around their religious beliefs, and in the country they are even more superstitious than some of the people in the cities. It was quite an experience trying not to laugh at some of the things I heard, but also frustrating with others.
American Old Wives' Tales
As a child growing up in America, a couple of the Old Wives' Tales were ones we were taught, while others I have no idea where I heard them. One of the most popular ones I remember was, "If you step on a crack, you'll break your mothers back!" This one made a good game while walking as we tried to avoid all the cracks in the sidewalks.
Here are a few more Old Wives' Tales I remember, although at the time I believed them.
1) If you break a mirror, you will have 7 years of bad luck.
2) If a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck.
3) A variation of the Eastern European Baba (witch) was our Boogy Man...."If you're not good, the Boogy Man will get you!"
4) If you find a four leaf clover, you will have good luck (I tried this for years with no luck)
5) If you see a shooting star it will bring good luck.
6) Feed a cold, starve a fever
7) Don't go swimming for an hour after you eat or you will get cramps and can drown
More American Old Wives' Tales
Our Grandmothers Have Some of the Best Stories and Superstitions
Thinking of these Old Wives' Tales was a lot of fun, but so much more fun when another friend, Sylvestermouse started telling me the ones she remembered hearing. While we were doing them online, her husband and mother joined in the fun. These are the ones they were remembering, mostly from their Southern Grandmothers. So, thank you Sylvestermouse and family for a fun evening. I left the editorials exactly as she wrote them.
1. garlic will get rid of vampires
2. dropping sissors, your spouse is having an affair.
3. too many hands spoil the soup
4. If you bury a personal item, like a handkerchief or a ribbon, it will get rid of a wart
5. Walking under a ladder will cause bad luck.
6. If a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck. (Personally, I hug black cats and walk under ladders just to challenge that myth).
7. You'll break your mother's back by stepping on a crack
8. If your ears are burning, someone is talking about you
9. Nose itches, someone is coming to visit. (Of course, with that one, I bar the door)
10. If a picture falls off of a wall, someone in the family is going to die
11. A cricket in the house is good luck. (Now that I remember that one, I am going cricket hunting)
12. Lifting your feet when you cross railroad tracks, yikes! I think we did that to get a boyfriend :)
Oh yeah, throwing salt over your shoulder for good luck. (Ok, I admit, I do that!)
One I am very familiar with right now, pulling out one gray hair will cause ten to grow in its place :)
Holy cow! What about not breaking the ribbons on a gift at a bridal shower or you will get pregnant. (the bride of course :)
Yes, as you can see remembering these Old Wive's Tales can be a lot of fun. Thank you Sylvestermouse, and family for a wonderfully fun evening!