Superstitions, do they vary by region here?

  TopCat® 18:44 27 Oct 2011

We have just spent a pleasant afternoon entertaining an old lady who my wife first met as a young child evacuee to Mevagissey, Cornwall from London during WWII. After a very nice lunch we adjourned to the conservatory, whereupon the Cornish old lady looking out over the garden, suddenly stiffened and stopped speaking. She then rose to her feet and began saying: "Good afternoon Mr Dennison." "I trust you and your family are well and will remain so, with the grace of God." She then resumed her seat!

Seeing the look on our faces, she explained that she had seen just a single magpie in our garden and that to pacify the 'evil spirits' those words had to be said. Not necessary of course, if two or more of the species are seen.

My younger brother was driving me around Yorkshire one morning years ago, when he spotted a single magpie walking at the roadside. Slowing down he vainly looked around for another magpie, before firmly stating "he would be having a rotten day from now on. When I said that was a load of bunkum I knew by his response that he was quite serious.

Anyone here know of other superstitions that have changed by region in this country. I am not a believer in any, by the way, but thanks for the input anyway. :o) TC.

  chub_tor 18:50 27 Oct 2011

My father who was born and lived all his life in Harwich, Essex always acknowledged a single magpie. If he was wearing his favourite trilby he doffed it and asked the magpie how he was today, if he was bareheaded then he would touch his forelock.

  lotvic 19:46 27 Oct 2011

userious? what makes you think she wasn't?

  morddwyd 19:48 27 Oct 2011

They certainly do vary by region.

I have been looked at very askance in the more genteel parts of England when spitting three times on seeing a white horse.

  Aitchbee 19:57 27 Oct 2011

The 70's Children's TV program 'Magpie' with Susan Stranks, Tony Bastible & Co. began with a song-:

"One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy.....

Ma-a-a-a agpie !"

  lotvic 22:46 27 Oct 2011

I have no idea where it came from, but as a child if we saw a lone magpie we held on to our collar with one hand (to ward off bad luck) until we saw another magpie.

  BT 08:36 28 Oct 2011

One for sorrow, two for joy..

Its all to do with the fact that Magpies pair for life so if you see a single one it could have lost its mate, hence 'One for sorrow. two for joy'.

  BT 08:41 28 Oct 2011

..we held on to our collar with one hand..

Probably from the old East End custom of holding your lapel with the fingers your left hand to show respect at a funeral.

  wee eddie 16:18 28 Oct 2011

After seeing a single magpie, we had to find a Grey(White horse) to remove the day's bad luck!


  chub_tor 19:18 28 Oct 2011

We went to live in America for a few years back in the 80's taking with us our "Lucky" black cat. Well we considered him very lucky as a year or so before we left he only just missed being run over, getting a very squashed rear leg that was bald for the rest of his life.

Imagine how we felt when introducing him to our new neighbours in Columbus, Ohio only to be told that in the USA black cats are thought to be bringers of bad luck and we should keep our cat well away from them.

The cat lived long enough to survive the winters in Ohio (where he feasted on wild chipmunks) and the heat in Texas (where he spent most of his time laying underneath the air conditioner outlet). He returned safely to the UK where he lived out the rest of his life in the luxury of a house nestled in woodland and where he ate mice and tried to catch squirrels.

So at least one superstition varies by region even if it across "the pond".

  SB23 20:32 28 Oct 2011

Has anyone heard about when you spill salt.

Growing up I remember my mum throwing a small pinch of the stuff over a shoulder, (sorry, can't remember which one), and when I would ask why, she would just say that she had spilled some, and to not throw some over the shoulder was bad luck.

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