Black Cats and April Fools: Origins of Old Wives Tales and Superstitions in Our Daily Lives

Black Cats and April Fools: Origins of Old Wives Tales and Superstitions in Our Daily Lives

Harry Oliver

Language: English

Pages: 258

ISBN: 1843581620

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Black Cats and April Fools: Origins of Old Wives Tales and Superstitions in Our Daily Lives

Harry Oliver

Language: English

Pages: 258

ISBN: 1843581620

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


An intriguing look at the origins of some of our most popular superstitions and old wives tales. People have knocked on wood to ward off misfortune, or watched a bride throw a bouquet over her head at a wedding, but how often have they stopped to consider where such customs originate, or why they endure? Behind many of our daily rituals and beliefs lies a fascinating history of weird and wonderful notions, some rational, others fanciful. In this diverting volume, Harry Oliver delves into the stories behind our rich traditions to explain them with characteristic wit and flair. So before you search for any more four-leaf clovers or worry about the next Friday the 13th, dip into this little book to find out why.

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CONTENTS Title Page Dedication Acknowledgements Introduction 1 Arts and Entertainment 2 Outdoor Dangers 3 Actions and Gestures 4 Around the Home 5 Clothes and Apparel 6 Animals 7 The Body 8 Love and Marriage 9 Food and Drink 10 Sport and Pastimes 11 The Weather and Natural Occurrences 12 Birth 13 Death 14 Numbers, lucky and unlucky 15 Gifts 16 Celebrations and Festivals 17 Days of the Week 18 Predicting the Future 19 Old Wives’ Tales and Pseudo-science

attending, as well as being a sign of respect and thanks to the departed. It was considered unlucky and was absolutely discouraged for a pregnant woman to attend a funeral. This was probably because of the taboo of mixing together a new life and a new death, as well as the fear that the spirit of the dead might come back in the form of the newborn baby. Sin eaters Starting in the Middle Ages, a peculiar custom began to accompany funeral celebrations: the hiring of a sin eater. It was believed

leisure that working people were allowed in the Victorian period, so often people would ignore the prohibition and tend their gardens and vegetable plots, and in fact there are an equal number of contradictory superstitions. For instance, it is said that bread baked on this day is special, and that crops planted on this day will produce a double harvest. A future husband may be seen in the mirror at Halloween If a single girl wishes to know the identity of her husband-to-be, she should place a

time of the jump. Copyright Published by Metro Publishing an imprint of John Blake Publishing Ltd, 3 Bramber Court, 2 Bramber Road, London W14 9PB, England www.johnblakepublishing.co.uk www.facebook.com/johnblakepub twitter.com/johnblakepub This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and

AROUND THE HOME It is unlucky to open an umbrella indoors. AROUND THE HOME Breaking a mirror To break a mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck. If a mirror breaks of its own accord, this is also considered a terrible omen, foretelling the death of someone dear to the mirror’s owner. The origins of this superstition may be linked to ancient beliefs surrounding reflections more generally, which were seen to have magical properties and to retain something of the soul of the person

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