Superstition - A World of Make Believe?Written by Sharon Jacobsen
Superstitions are part of our heritage, transporting us to a distant past that links with roots of our culture. The ancient lores of our forefathers are still very much alive, many having remained unchanged for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years. Rational thought and advance of science together cast doubt on real dangers involved yet many of us still feel we ought to be careful. There are hundreds of common daily activities which are linked to superstition, each culture having its variations. Even those of you who say "I'm not superstitious!" have probably at some point tried to avoid walking under a ladder, stepping on cracks, knocked on wood, blessed a person sneezing, or crossed your fingers. Just in case. Here are some of more common superstitions and their meanings: 1. It's bad luck to walk under a ladder. A leaning ladder forms a triangle with wall and ground. Triangles represent Holy Trinity, and violating Trinity by breaking it (walking through it) would put you in league with devil himself. Considering what Christians did to those who were considered to be in league with devil, it's hardly surprising that leaning ladders were avoided at all cost. 2. Friday Thirteenth The idea that a this particular date would bring bad luck has its roots in both Norse and Christian beliefs. The Scandinavians believed that number 13 was unlucky due to mythological 12 demigods being joined by a 13th, an evil one, who brought misfortune upon man. Christ was said to have been crucified on Friday and number of guests at the Last Supper was 13, with 13th guest being Judas, traitor. 3. God Bless You The blessing of those who sneeze started when great plague took hold of Europe. Sufferers would sneeze violently, a sign that they would soon die. As a result, The Pope passed a law requiring people to bless sneezer. At same time it was expected that anybody sneezing would cover their mouth with a cloth or their hand. This was obviously to stop spreading of disease but many believed that it was to keep soul intact. Sneezing 'into air' would allow soul to escape and death would be imminent.
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