Throwback Thursday #19 – Superstitions, Amulets, and Charms

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. I thought this week it might be fun to explore a little magic. Lauren will be back for the first Throwback post of the new year. If you want to join in, it’s easy:

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Superstitions, trinkets, and Charms

To quote Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, “You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky? ‘ Well, do ya, punk?

What makes you feel lucky? Is it a four leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot, or a lucky penny? 

What are you superstitious of? Will you walk under a ladder? What’s your lucky number? What if a black cat crosses your path?

Where did you learn ideas concerning luck? Do you still have superstitions in your adult life?

Since this is the last week of the year I am curious – do you make resolutions, eat specific foods, or have traditions or superstitions to usher in the new year?

My post follows:

I remember walking on sidewalks trying to avoid stepping on a crack. “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”. Now did I think stepping on a crack would actually break my mother’s back? No, of course not, but I still tried to avoid cracks in the sidewalk.

I was never afraid or worried about black cats. Maybe because I had an all black cat named Midnight. I will admit if a black cat crosses my path now, I think about the superstition, but I do not put any credence in it. I am trying to think back as a child and determine if I felt differently then.

I do remember having a pink rabbit’s foot on a ball chain. How horrible that is to think about now. Superstitions are so bizarre, but there I was with my pink rabbit’s foot.

“Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.” I loved finding an abandoned penny until later when I decided only a penny that was heads up was good luck.

My dad was amazing at finding four leaf clovers. I have never found one. My step-daughter and my grandson have the same ability. I once carried a key chain with an encased four leaf clover but I am not sure I considered it particularly lucky.

I often saw a horseshoe (ends pointing up) hung over the doorway in people’s homes and in their barns. This was supposed to capture all the good luck coming into the house. I do not see many horseshoe charms these days so perhaps that superstition has died out.

Star light, star bright

The first star I see tonight

I wish I may, I wish might

Have the wish I wish tonight

We always recited that into the night sky, making a wish on the first star we saw. Wishes were a big part of my early life – always wishing for something special in our rather simple lives.

If I was not the one responsible for cleaning, I might still throw a pinch of spilled salt over my left shoulder to dissuade any bad luck. 

As kids, we always tried to finagle a way to be chosen to break the “wishbone” of a chicken or turkey. We were really all about wishing! I only recently discovered there is a way to hold the wishbone which will almost always guarantee you will get the desired long piece once the bone is broken.

When I was young, I had a wart on my finger. My grandfather took a piece of thread, rubbed it over the wart, then buried it in the ground. He told me when the thread rotted away, the wart would be gone. 😳

My grandparents always planted their crops “by the moon”.  The Farmer’s Almanac always had a calendar (they still do) which told what days were good to plant what crop. I know many people who believe in planting by the calendar or the moon. Honestly, there is some logic to it. Plants are seasonal after all.

I do not make new year resolutions. I do sometimes think of a word that might be my focus for the coming year. We try to stay up until midnight, but we do not always make it. No parties for us! On New Year’s day, we do not fix the traditional black eyed peas, Hoppin’ John, or collard greens, but I do remember my step mom making boiled cabbage and including a coin in the pot to bring luck and good fortune for the coming year.


37 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #19 – Superstitions, Amulets, and Charms”

  1. It’s so interesting to learn about all these possible superstitions and what you think of them. I remember the horseshoe too, but not sure if it’s still a thing here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Astrid, I think we are always looking for purpose or meaning in our rather chaotic world. Maybe that’s why we cling to things we hope will bring us luck.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have never bought into any superstitions, and will happily walk under a ladder. But my mum used to put a silver sixpence into the Christmas Pudding every year, and whoever got it was supposed to have good fortune the following year. I was pleased as a child if my pudding portion had the sixpence in it.
    I remember people being upset if someone put a hat on a bed. So I looked up to see if that is a ‘thing’. Apparently, it is.
    ‘Although the exact origins of this superstition are lost to history, it’s believed to have started because people thought evil spirits lived in the hair. Most likely, these evil spirits were actually static buildup. As people went indoors and removed their hats, the static electricity in their hair popped and crackled, a reaction attributed to the spirits that lurked among their locks and in their hats. By laying a hat on the bed, those same evil spirits would transfer onto the very place where they’d lay their heads at night.’
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pete, I had forgotten about the hat on the bed. I remember that from my grandfather. Putting a coin in food seems to be a common theme for good fortune. It must have been exciting for you as a young boy.


  3. My Mexican wife makes me eat 12 grapes at 12 AM New Years. She says it rings goof luck for the coming year. The last couple years the grapes must have been sour.
    I read the obituaries first thing every morning. If I don’t see my name there I know I’ve been lucky for another day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don, I have heard of the 12 grapes but have never known anyone – until now – who practiced that ritual. My father in law always read the obituaries looking to see if he made it another day. 😁 I hope you have a wonderful new year, Don.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Magic can come to us in so many forms. I think it’s magical that your grandfather cared so much about you that he tended to your wart worries and buried the thread piece with you. It’s so sweet. Happy New Year, Maggie.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We do the black eyed peas, greens and corn bread every New Year’s Day. While I don’t think it brings good luck, I am superstitious enough not to risk forgoing the meal.

    Liked by 2 people

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