There are some superstitions that were born out of sensible advice. “Don’t go out during a solar eclipse or else you’ll go blind.” Translation: I know the whole phenomenon is beautiful and everything, but I don’t trust your capacity to resist staring at it until you’re blind as a bat. And since we won’t have pinhole cameras, dark goggles or white canes for a few centuries to come, park your butt indoors until this thing blows over.
“Cover your mouth with your hand when you yawn, otherwise the Devil will get inside“. I’m going to venture a guess that ‘Devil’ was the name of the family’s pet mosquito. Apt, when you consider the notorious blood-sucking habit and how common it is for families to have a million pet mosquitoes without even knowing it.
And then there are a few that make no sense whatsoever.
- “Don’t let the baby look into the mirror. He will grow up with buck teeth.” Huh?
- “Don’t pass the salt with your hands, or else you’ll end up fighting with that person.” Honey, I love you and that’s the only reason I’m seasoning your food using my toes.
- “Don’t get your picture taken at sunset. It will shorten your lifespan.” George Clooney should be dead by now, from all those Oscars red carpet photos taken at dusk.
There’s yet another category: those superstitions that started out with meaningful purpose, but somewhere along the way, lost… um, their way. Nomadic tribes shared the day’s kill with the entire group because (1) you needed a group offensive to kill something bigger than a rabbit and (2) there were no freezers to keep your woolly mammoth leftovers. Later among settlers, everyone knew everyone in their village, even without Facebook. So it’s logical that you invite the entire community if you’re hosting a decent lunch. It was an excuse to meet and greet, and frankly no one wanted to be uninvited from the next big dinner.
Flash forward to the 21st century: what’s the deal with inviting a thousand strangers to your wedding?
Me: “Why can’t I have a teeny-tiny wedding with just friends and relatives?”
Parents: “OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!”
So there we were, my new missus and I, receiving obligatory, not-really-whole-hearted blessings from a gazillion people we haven’t met and will never meet ever again, while they snapped up the wedding feast (which we’ve been told later, was “OH, SO DELICIOSO!“). Thanks for sharing that. Now please excuse us while we stuff our starving bellies from empty plates filled with blessings. Now there’s a wedding memory that would last a lifetime.
The next time someone goes boo-hoo over a broken mirror, I will personally deliver their 7 years of bad luck.