Old Wives Tales And Superstitions
An assortment of old wives tales, wedding superstitions, sayings to make wishes come true, customs, weather omens, and folklore gathered through the years.
It is impossible to trace back to who first talked of superstitions or wives tales. They are as old as man is himself. Gathered here is an assortment of these sayings and lore.
Everyone has a saying or two to make wishes come true:
“Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish for tonight”
When sleeping under a new blanket, make a wish for new love and you will meet him the following afternoon. Wish upon a shooting star, your wish is sure to come true. If you wish in one of these manners, never tell a soul your wish, or the wish will be returned unfulfilled
Some good luck omens:
Finding a cricket in your house tells of money on its way or some other prosperity coming. Make sure to not disturb the cricket. Four leaf clovers. Horseshoes hung upright catch good luck, but despair will come if it tips, as all the good luck will spill out. White cats crossing your pathway are bearers of good news. Oak trees planted in a new yard will bring luck to the owners of the house.
Little girls throughout the ages have been repeating this saying to discover what their future husbands will do for a living:
“Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, merchant, Chief”
A favorite of mine is, if a girl, but only on the first of May, looks sideways into a mirror on first waking up, may see the image of her future husband.
Once a wedding was on the way, sayings, customs, and superstitions abounded:
“Marry in white, you will do all right,
Marry in blue, your man will be true,
Marry in brown, live in town,
Marry in green, ashamed to be seen,
Marry in red, soon be dead,
Marry in black, better turn back,
Marry in yellow, got the wrong fellow,
Marry in gray, be sad someday.”
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
June weddings are the luckiest. It is bad luck to change the wedding date once it is set. A bride who sews her own dress will have a life of luck.
Wives tales and folklore have been repeated throughout time:
If the nose itches, company is coming. If the thumb itches, it will be unwelcome company. If your left hand itches, money is coming your way. If your ears are ringing, someone is talking about you. The right ear means they are saying good things. The left ear means they are criticizing you.
Never give knives as gifts as it will cut apart the friendship. If you spill salt at the table, take the shaker and spill some over your right shoulder to ward off bad luck. A clock that has not been working that suddenly chimes means death.
Dropping a glass and having it not break is a good luck omen. If a bird flies into a house, it is bad luck. Unless there are two birds, then a wedding in the family is coming up. To hear an owl outside a window means illness is coming to the house.
Step on a crack, break your mothers back. Finding a coin heads up is good luck; tails up is bad luck. Never walk under a ladder.
Some sayings and symbols that have endured through the years are:
“Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child has far to go,
Thursday’s child is full of woe,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child will work for a living,
But a child born on the Sabbath day,
Will be handsome and good and rich and gay!”
White means pure
Red means power
Blue means peace
Green is hope
Black is death
Herbs that protect a house from evil spirits include Dill and Ground Ivy. Aching joints means rain is on the way.
Sneeze on Monday, sneeze for fun,
Sneeze on Tuesday, meet someone
Sneeze on Wednesday, get a letter
Sneeze on Thursday, get something better
Sneeze on Friday, sneeze in sorrow
Sneeze on Saturday, see friends tomorrow
Sneeze on Sunday, bad luck for a week
Weather omens are also abundant:
Sure signs of rain on the way are, tree leaves turned up, a rainbow in the morning, or a ring around the moon. Dogs eating grass or robins singing loudly are sure signs of a storm approaching.
Lastly, one heard since this author was small,
“Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning, Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”