Friday the 13th. Bad luck. Black cats walking in front of you. Touch wood if you say something and don't want it to come true. Bad luck comes in threes. Step on a crack, break your mother's back.... these are some of the many superstitions that have passed down through the ages.
But where do they come from? Did our ancestors touch wood as way of protecting themselves from bad things happening? Superstitions often arise because we humans need a way to explain things that don't seem to have an explanation.
Superstitions continue even in our enlightened age for one simple reason - they are passed on from generation to generation! Most of us have one or even two superstitions which we may try to keep hidden. Here are a few of our more common superstitions and how they formed.
Don't walk under a ladder. One theory holds that this superstition arises from a Christian belief
in the Holy Trinity: Since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a
triangle, "breaking" that triangle was blasphemous.
Black cats walking in front of you. This fear (superstition) may have arisen from fear of witches and witches familiars, most often thought to be black cats.
Knock on Wood (Touch wood). This is a very common superstition, believed to ward off evil or bad luck. This may have come from ancient belief in trees having spirits. A good spirit in the wood could protect you from evil. I know my grandmother carried this tradition of wood touching on and I confess so do I!
Friday the 13th. Friggatriskaidekaphobics fear Friday the 13th. The fear of Friday the 13th dates back to the late 1800s. Friday has been
and 13 has a long history as an unlucky number. Combine the two and it's a double whammy!
So to all you Friggatriskaidekaphobics out there, take cover! Today is your worst day.