Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Tips: Some Old Wives Tales

In keeping with the old fashioned theme of this blog, I thought it would be fun to dredge up some old wives tales. Superstitions, folk lore and old wives tales were serious business many years ago. Many people depended on these beliefs for many of their day to day activities. 

I've collected only a small sampling of these old fashioned beliefs, feel free to share any with us any that you remember from your childhood! I remember "step on a crack, break your mother's back" like it was yesterday. :)

Do you remember any of these? 

Some of them I do, but many of them I had actually never heard before! 

I'm sure my grandma believed in many of these. I yelled at my husband for tossing salt over his shoulder the other day, who has to clean that up?? ME! LOL

So without further delay...

Old Fashioned Superstitions
  • If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake with the first puff you will get your wish.
  • To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately after they leave.
  • If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.
  • To cure a cough: take a hair from the coughing person's head, put it between two slices of buttered bread, feed it to a dog, and say, "Eat well you hound, may you be sick and I be sound."
  • For good luck throughout the year, wear new clothes on Easter.
  • Cut your hair on Good Friday to prevent headaches in the year to come
  • Pulling out a gray or white hair will cause ten more to grow in its place.
  • If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you.
  • If a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come.
  • If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter.
  • A mirror should be covered during a thunderstorm because it attracts lightning.
  • If your nose itches, someone is coming to see you. If it's the right nostril, the visitor will be a female, left nostril, male
  • An onion cut in half and placed under the bed of a sick person will draw off fever and poisons.
  • If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers.
  • A wish made upon seeing the first robin in spring will come true - but only if you complete the wish before the robin flies away.
  • A spider is a repellent against plague when worn around the neck in a walnut shell.
  • A watermelon will grow in your stomach if you swallow a watermelon seed.
  • Knock three times on wood after mentioning good fortune so evil spirits won't ruin it.

Shooting Stars
All wishes on shooting stars come true.
Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.

If you make a wish while throwing a coin into a well or fountain, the wish will come true.
Wish I may,
Wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.
If you tell someone your wish, it won't come true.

Sty in the Eye
To cure a sty, stand at a crossroads and recite
Sty, sty, leave my eye
Take the next one coming by.

Two people pull apart the dried breastbone of a chicken or turkey until it cracks and breaks, each one making a wish while doing so. The person who gets the long half of the wishbone will have his or her wish come true.

First Flower of Spring
The day you find the first flower of the season can be used as an omen:
Monday means good fortune,
Tuesday means greatest attempts will be successful,
Wednesday means marriage,
Thursday means warning of small profits,
Friday means wealth,
Saturday means misfortune,
Sunday means excellent luck for week


  1. Hello Amanda,

    Thanks for this blog. I tried the old wives tale - cut up onion and placed it next to my bed while sleeping last night to help with the onset of a head cold and it worked !!



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