It’s my thought that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to adhering to superstitions that were passed down to Granny and she passed down to me. I first heard the following 10 folklore beliefs in my early childhood when I spent time with my grandmother who was born in England.

Do you have an itchy nose? Oh, dear, you’ll likely be kissed by a fool or made mad. Does one follow the other? I never thought to ask Granny.

Do you have itchy feet? You have something to look forward to because you’re going on strange ground. Of course, if you’re a homebody, the prospect of heading off to somewhere you’ve never been before probably doesn’t excite you.

Do your ears ever burn? That tingling indicates that someone is talking about you! Let’s hope they’re saying only good things.

Does the palm of your hand tickle? If it’s the left hand, you’re likely to pay money out but unexpected funds are coming in soon if it’s your right hand.

Has a prickle ever run down your spine that made you shiver for no apparent reason? Sorry to say but someone is walking over your grave and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Avoid bad luck by waiting to turn the page on a calendar until after the first day of a new week or month. Granny would scold us not to tempt fate if we started to hang a new calendar before New Year’s Day, for example.

One day when I came up behind Granny in her little kitchen, she showered me with salt without turning around. “Granny,” I said, “what are you doing?” Granny said she didn’t know I was behind her and then went on to patiently explain that she had spilled salt on the counter. To keep from having bad luck, she tossed some over her shoulder. Satisfied with Granny’s answer, I fetched the dustpan and broom to help her clean it up.

According to Granny, to accidentally put on a piece of clothing inside out or backwards would bring good luck. That’s a positive thought rather than berating oneself for not watching what you’re doing.

Dropping a knife foretold of the impending visit of an expected male visitor. Imagine the family’s pleasant anticipation that they would soon welcome company! This belief certainly must have originated before we casually announced our plans to drop in by tapping a name in our cell phone contact list.

Of course, many readers will be familiar that letting a black cat cross your path is bad luck. However, that superstition never worried Granny. Since we had a number of black cats years ago, staying out of their way would have been next to impossible. I recall that when Granny swept behind Mother’s wood-burning cookstove every morning, any cat curled up there was soon on its way out the back door no matter what color of fur it had.

Perhaps that superstition should have been reworded to warn black cats to watch out for Granny!

Did Granny really believe in the superstitions she shared? I don’t know but just in case, I won’t be putting up my 2022 wall calendar until Sat., Jan. 1.

So, friends, have superstitions thrived in your family? I’m all ears (and yes, they are burning).  

Oh, by the way, another post that mentions Granny is Christmas in Her Heart.

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Elaine Thomas
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