I grew up in a very religious country full of superstitious beliefs you would not believe all the things people conjure up if you hear them. You can hardly pass an anthill without someone telling you, you ought to ask permission or excuse yourself for trespassing on a sacred place of some powerful mythical beings. Failure to do so will result in unforeseen circumstances/consequences ranging from a simple fever to_ name it, the only limit is your imagination.
I could write a book about the stories I heard when I was growing up. My mother was an expert storyteller when it comes to these sorts of tales. She told us about flying babies, goblins, centaurs abducting children, beautiful people being kidnapped by enchanted entities making them appear dead and replacing their bodies with banana trunks. She related to us how could we become invisible by simply stealing the hat of the grim reaper and how to acquire a magic purse that contains a hundred peso bill that keeps coming back after you spend it. Imagine…
People there believe in pontianak – the spirits of women who died while pregnant/ the ghosts of stillborn children among so many supernatural creatures that eat human flesh and organs and could shift shape. They believe in witchcraft and black magic and they say it is better to stay at home on your birthday or wedding day because venturing outside is equals to courting disaster. If you hear a Gekko making sound by the door it means someone is coming. Likewise, if you drop cutlery. If you drop a spoon the visitor will be female and male if it is a fork. If you smell the acrid aroma of an extinguished candle it means death. And if you let children kiss a doll before they could talk, there is a chance that they will become mute.
For all those silly notions people believe with all their hearts, what amazes me the most is the one surrounding conception. They say when a woman is conceiving she better be careful what she says, what she eats, what she likes and so on because whatever her preferences in food, in people or words might be will affect the baby in her womb. For example: If she craves for chocolates while conceiving or takes a fancy to someone with a dark complexion, the baby will surely be dark as well when s/he is born. If a pregnant woman criticizes or laughs at people with deformity, her baby will be deformed too. If she eats soft crabs then the baby will not be able to walk and if it is lobsters or shrimps, there is a strong possibility that the color and shape of the crustacean will appear on the skin of her baby as a birthmark. Things like that. I remember being in a heated discussion while on holiday back there because I asked them if I crave for plums while conceiving would that automatically means my baby will be dark when she or he comes out? They know I am married to a Caucasian. Imagine that…
I can go on and on about those superstitions my countrymen still hang onto until this very day but I will stop here. I think you get an idea already of what I want to convey.
How about you?
Is your country has similar beliefs?
How you deal with them?
Do you believe in those notions?
4 thoughts on “Friday The 13th”
My mother’s side of the family were superstitious, although she would say they were not. It feels as if my conscious, controlling mind is not superstitious, but my unconscious mind is. While I resist the ideas I still don’t really like to do certain things – put shoes on the table, for example. Mum thinks that bird motifs inside a house are unlucky. I am wearing a dress with a bird pattern on it as I type, but I thought about it seriously before buying it and don’t think I’ve ever had one before. Mum goes outside to turn her purse over under the new moon and her mum did too. If my sister drops a knife on the floor she will not pick it up herself even if it has to lie there for a while. Then there are a few of the usual others – ladders, black cats etc.
I think four leaved clovers are lucky and have often spent time looking for them, especially when I was younger. One thing I really don’t like doing is to tempt fate. That’s only part superstition – part being suspicious of over confidence.
I can relate. Though I lost my faith in organized religion a long time ago and seriously doubting the existence of God, I still catch myself uttering a prayer when distress or crossing myself if I see a funeral going on. These things are engraved in our habits and it seems very difficult to shake off.
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My, I think you should write the book.
I grew up with a suburban awareness of superstitions. Don’t walk on a crack for the sake of your mother’s back. Throw spilled salt over the left shoulder. Friday the thirteenth is a bad day. In college, I studied folklore and folk literature (one reason why I think you should write the book). I have a broader awareness of superstitions without broad belief. I have great respect, though. And I still throw salt over my left shoulder and try not to believe all the nasty beliefs about left-handers. So maybe I protest too much.
Not to be ironic but have a happy Friday the thirteenth!
To be honest, if someone has to believe all these “nonsense” it would be me for I have my shares of supernatural experiences through the years, but my sober logical mind refuses to believe them even though I have no way to explain them logically. My son said I was hallucinating and it feels real because I believe it is real.