Throwback Thursday #19: Superstitions, Trinkets & Charms


Superstition

This week Maggie co-host of the Throwback Thursday Challenge asks about superstitions. We grew up with a bunch of them passed on from our mum. Like many of our generation we learned that breaking a mirror would bring seven years bad luck and that we should never walk under a ladder or bring blossoms into the house. I have written posts about superstitions in the past which have received a lot of views so I know we’re not alone in growing up with these rules even if nobody could really explain why we followed them.

What makes you feel lucky? Is it a four leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot, or a lucky penny? 

I don’t have a specific lucky charm myself. I do have some crystals which are said to have certain powers. I keep them in a bowl in my bedroom. Mum used to have a little brass figure she called “Joan the Wad”, a pixie. I always thought that despite the name it looked like an ugly little man but I looked it up and Joan the Wad was Queen of the Pixies in Cornish folklore. After looking her up I actually think that mum’s charm looked more like Jack O’Lantern, the King of the pixies. Anyway, she believed her charm was lucky and was upset when the original was lost.

What are you superstitious of? Will you walk under a ladder? What’s your lucky number? What if a black cat crosses your path?

I won’t walk under a ladder. There are several stories about the origin of this one. That a ladder resembles the gallows is one from medieval times. Another is that a ladder leaning against a wall signified the Holy Trinity while the ancient Egyptians associated the triangular shape with the pyramids and believed that walking under a ladder would break the power of the pyramid. That superstition has a lot of common sense to it though. If you walk under a ladder, you may get something from above dropped on your head. You may dislodge it and cause the person standing on it to fall or at best be stranded on the roof. Not a good scenario for either of you. So that’s why I don’t walk under ladders. I don’t put umbrella’s up in the house. Again, I’m not sure of the origin of this one but for me it is common sense. If you put an umbrella up in a confined space you might knock something over or poke someone in the eye.

I love black cats, I know that many people think they are unlucky, mum thought they were lucky. We have a black cat living with us now, Naomi’s cat Panther, she is a beautiful cat and the best behaved of our pets.

Panther
I managed to get a better photo of Panther

Where did you learn ideas concerning luck? Do you still have superstitions in your adult life?

Originally from mum as I mentioned at the beginning but over the years both Naomi and I have read about the subject and we do have beliefs concerning luck. We don’t base every action on them but we do believe that there may be some truth in them. Recently, when Naomi was about to sell her house she buried a statue of St Joseph in her back garden. Many people believe that doing this and reciting a prayer to him will help with the sale. Whether it is true or not I can’t say but that house sold within days of going on the market for slightly more than the asking price. Maybe it would have anyway, that’s how the market is at present, but it certainly didn’t hurt. After the house sold, Naomi followed the instructions to dig Joseph up and give him a place of honour in the new home. At present he is surrounded by angels in our Christmas display but soon he will be moving to a new home in another part of the house where he will remain on display.

Statue of St Joseph

Since this is the last week of the year I am curious – do you make resolutions, eat specific foods, or have traditions or superstitions to usher in the new year?

I don’t make resolutions any more. I’m not good at keeping them. We do have some superstitions and traditions around this time of year though. The Christmas decorations must come down by the 6th of January. We always observe that one. Making a wish on the first mince pie eaten is another and making a wish while stirring the Christmas Pudding. I make my own Christmas Pudding. There is another concerning New Year that I try to carry out. It is something about if your pantry (or fridge would be the modern-day equivalent) is full at New Year it will be for the rest of the coming year. I usually have a fridge full of Christmas leftovers so that’s not a hard one to manage.

Further Reading

https://www.joanthewad.co.uk/2018/04/18/the-history-of-joan-the-wad-queen-of-the-cornish-piskies/

Taswegian1957

I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.

3 comments

  1. The stories surrounding the ladder are very interesting. I had never heard the origin of that particular superstition. My grandmother always wanted plenty of food stocked when the new year rolled around! Our fridge is packed right now so hopefully we are good!

    Liked by 1 person

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