Sunday, 16 May 2010

Superstitions and omens. Do we believe in it?

What are superstitions?
Superstitions are beliefs or practices for which there appears to be no rational substance. It is a term designated to these beliefs that result from ignorance and fear of the unknown. Those who use the term imply that they have certain knowledge or superior evidence for their scientific, philosophical, or religious convictions.
An ambiguous word, it probably cannot be used ecxept subjectively. Ignorance of natural causes leads to the belief that certain striking phenomena express the will or the anger of some invisible overruling power, and the objects in which such phenomena appear are forthwith deified, as example, in Nature-worship. Conversely, many superstitious practices are due to an exaggerated notion or a false interpretation of natural events, so that effects are sought which are beyond the efficiency of physical causes. Curiosity also with regard to things that are hidden or are still in the future plays a considerable part, example, in the various kinds of divination. With this qualification in mind, superstitions may be classified roughly as religious, cultural and personal.
All religious beliefs and practices may seem superstitious to the person without religion.
Superstitions that belong to the cultural tradition are enormous in their variety. Nearly all persons, in nearly times, have held, seriously, irrational beliefs concerning methods of warding off ill or bringing good, foretelling the future, and healing and preventing sickness and accidents. A few specific folk traditions, such as beliefs in the evil eye or in the efficacy of amulets, have been found in most periods of history and in most parts of the world. Others may be limited to one country, region or village, to one family, or to one social or vocational group.
Finally, people develop personal superstitions: a student writes a good form of literary piece with a certain pen, and from that moment the pen is lucky; a horseplayer may be convinced that black horses run well for him.
Superstitions has been deeply influential in history. Even in so-called modern times, in a day when objective evidence is highly valued, there are few people who would not, if pressed, admit to cherishing secretly one or two irrational beliefs or superstitions. Such superstitious ideas persist not withstanding the evidence which oppose their validity.

Some polish superstitions:

  1. If you see a black cat you will have bad luck.
  2. If you pass under ladder you will have bad luck.
  3. If you see chimney-sweeper you will have to catch your button and your dream will be satisfy.
  4. If you drop your exercise-book you will have to trample it.
  5. If today is thirteenth Friday you will have bad luck.
  6. If you forget something from house and you must go back from this you will have to seat on chair.
  7. If you break a mirror you will have seven years bad luck.
  8. If you go married you will have to have something blue, old and borrow.
  9. If you say something horrifying or will have to rap in no painting wood.
  10. If you want that somebody have a luck you will have to hold thumbs behind him.
  11. If you see nun when you go to school and you turn three time’s over right arm you will have good luck in school.

British superstitions:

1. Lucky to meet a black cat.
2. Lucky to touch wood. We touch; knock on wood, to make something come true.
3. Lucky to find a clover plant with four leaves.
4. White heather is lucky.
5. A horseshoe over the door brings good luck. But the horseshoe needs to be the right way up. The luck runs out of the horseshoe if it is upside down.
6. Horseshoes are generally a sign of good luck and feature on many good luck cards.
7. On the first day of the month it is lucky to say "white rabbits, white rabbits white rabbits," before uttering your first word of the day.
8. Catch falling leaves in Autumn and you will have good luck. Every leaf means a lucky month next year.
9. Cut your hair when the moon is waxing and you will have good luck.
10. Putting money in the pocket of new clothes brings good luck.

11. Unlucky to walk underneath a ladder.
12. Seven years bad luck to break a mirror. The superstition is supposed to have originated in ancient times, when mirrors were considered to be tools of the gods.
13. Unlucky to see one magpie, lucky to see two, etc..
14. Unlucky to spill salt. If you do, you must throw it over your shoulder to counteract the bad luck.
15. Unlucky to open an umbrella in doors.
16. The number thirteen is unlucky. Friday the thirteenth is a very unlucky day.
17. Unlucky to put new shoes on the table.


An omen is a sign that relates to a future event. It may or may not give a time frame as to when this event will occur.
Some omens are signs of good fortune while others are a sign of impending misfortune.
Death omens
Death Omens are found in many different cultures and in almost every part of the world. They can be as simple as watching a picture fall off the wall or as hard to understand as the cry of the banshee. The list of omens is quite long. Why is this? Why do people search for these clues? What is the obsession that humans have with death?The quick and simple answer to the questions above is that death is something most of us do not fully understand. We do not and cannot know with 100% certainty what if anything is on the other side. We wait until our time comes and it is our turn to find out what lies behind the dreaded word death.Some people turn to their faith and take comfort in what they are taught. Others try to learn as much as they can about the physical processes of death and dying. The problem with the latter is that you can learn about the physical aspects of death and dying, you can be shown and taught what to look for when the time is near, but once a person has died there is nothing to learn any further. In the end the results are always the same. No one knows what's on the other side until we get there. As humans the unknown and the inability to control things puts us on guard and makes us uneasy. So we continue our quest for understanding the unknown.

Simple Warnings that a death is about to happen:
  1. A picture that falls of the wall for no apparent reason
  2. A clock that stops
  3. A clock that fails to chime or ring
  4. A mirror that breaks while still on the wall
  5. A cat that leave the home and will not re-enter it
  6. A bird pecking at a window
  7. An owl seen during the daytime
  8. A dog that howls for no reason during the night

More complex warnings:

  1. Hearing a mournful cry or howl
  2. For Irish families this could be the warning cry of the banshee
  3. Hearing horse hoofs or a carriage outside your home
  4. Could be the sound of the Coach-a-Bower
  5. Seeing a black dog with or without glowing eyes
  6. Could be the black shuck or "death dog"
  7. Death Visions


  1. I don't believe in superstitions and omens, I think that it's just a nonsense. To be honest, for me almost each Friday the 13th is lucky! I have never had a bad luck that day, on the contrary, really nice things have happened to me. And as you can see, it doesn't make any sense if in Poland meeting a black cat brings you bad luck and in Britain good luck. It can't depend on the country in which we're staying, can it? I think that our psyche has really a big influence on such things. If we believe that something bad will happen to us because we have passed under the ladder, it is really possible that it will. When we want to find something bad happening to us, we probably will, but these things are not connected with any superstitions. In my opinion we should think about superstitions and omens just like about some curiosities and we cannot let them rule our lives.

  2. In general I also don't belive in superstitions and omens. I agree that we think that Friday the 13th is so unlucky because we try to remember all our failures on that particluar day. The same with black cat - after seeing it some people just wait for some failure in order to say that was cat's guilt. From the other hand I think some people can sense their or someone's close death. I heared about people (even from my family) who just woke up in the night and knew that someone had died.

  3. I don't believe in superstitions and omens, too. Furthermore I try to fight with it. I always have black cats and pass under ladder - and never have bad luck because of it. So what,am I witch? ;)
    In my opinion superstitions are only a way to excuse our failures and explain situations that are difficult to understand, even if it's stupid and unreasonable.
    However superstitions as a part of cultural tradition can be very interesting, we shouldn't treat it too seriously.

  4. I also think that superstition are funny and nice part of tradition, unless we don’t treat it too serious. I found it interesting to read about superstition in Britain. Only some of them are similar to Polish. It surprise me that in Britain it’s believed that seeing a Black cat brings happiness and in Poland it’s quite opposite. I wander where’s the source of that difference.
    In my opinion it’s also so true that despite of general set of superstitions we all develop our own, personal ones, sometimes really weird and funny.

  5. I never look for signs that could foretell the future. I think that such omens are illogical and only make people worry without cause. In my opinion taking too much interest in such topics isn’t good because people get overanxious and feel constant fear. I know a lot of people who, despite claiming that they don’t actually believe in superstitions, always avoid doing anything that could bring them bad luck. But I think there is nothing wrong with that as long as it is treated lightly and not taken too seriously.

  6. Definitely the black cat is very important animal ;) And I wonder: why not the red cat??

    I never belive in superstitions and omen, because some person in my family belive in it. And it was the kind of my defiance :) And now, when I more understand the word, I think the omens are irresponsible and sometimes stupid. I wonder: how the blue thing influences on hapyy marriage? I don't know... But it's nice tradition :)

  7. I think that superstitions are the part of culture and we don't need to fight them if they aren't damaging. I don't catch my button when I see a chimney-sweeper but if somebody does it's not a problem - it's a tradition ;)

  8. Generally, I don’t believe in superstitions and omens. I don’t know how black cat can influence my life. However, I know superstitious people who change their way, if a black cat crosses it . A few years ago I broke my mirror, but I can’t say that it’s the source of my bad luck.:) Our future depends only on us. And sometimes, I think, that superstitions and omens are good explanation for our failure.

  9. I don't believe in superstitions and omens too, but it's true that they are deep-rooted in our tradition, as Ola said, and it has an effect on people's subconscious.
    When I see a black cat, I don't take it for a trustworthy harbinger of bad luck. I know that sometimes my bad luck is mostly caused by the negative way of thinking.

  10. I was born on Friday the 13th and I own a black cat:) And guess what, I'am still alive and even think that I'm quite lucky:)
    About other omens, it's also an effect of people's justification of bad things that are happening; for me some are inevitable and we can't prevent it from happening. We all need faith in something- like this ridiculous superstitions, it just makes life more tolerable.

  11. Great blog! :)
    I noticed that polish superstitions relate to bad luck, and british to good luck! it means that we are pessimist? :)

    I don't belive in superstitions. 13 - it is my lucky nummber and I love black cats! :)
    And I agree with opinion that superstitions are nice and funny part of tradition - but there is one condition - don't treat it serious! :)

  12. I also think that there is a polish superstitions like: numer 13, black cats or breaking mirrors. Personally I do not believe in bud luck of number 13, because I was born 13 on Friday...and I do not agree that I am an unlucky person... In my opinion astrology and irrational beliefs are a kind of religion which does not bring any good and makes people addicted...We must be more careful...

  13. In general bad luck is only an explanation for our laziness. Of course sometimes there is a bad coincidence, but I belive in sentence that we should know hot to organize good luck. All this biased against number 13, black cats or ladders is only result of ignorance, but fightinh with it is only tilt at windmills.

  14. As someone said before, superstitions and omens are part of our culture. Generaly, I don't believe in them but I accept them. My grandma always talks about many omens she has. It's kind of fun to listen to her :)

  15. I respect, superstitions but honestly I mostly don't believe in them. Maybe it's a important part of culture but it shouldn't have too important place in life.

  16. And me, on the contrary, I don't respect superstitions: I like to laugh it off because I think is really ridiculous. I don't speak about traditions: it's a part of the culture and we should respect it. But if my friend tell me I will be seriously ill because I've dream about teeth loosing - I make a scared face and say that I'm going to make an appointement with a doctor immediately :P

  17. Well, I don't believe superstitions and omens. I don't understand how people can believe that, but in Poland some of them are our culture and I think everyone when they see black cat crossing the road the will say "Oh, black cat bring bad luck!". Everyone know such a typical superstition and everyone know what it mean.

  18. I dont believe in omens and superstitions. For example Friday the 13th I was born on 13th and I gave luck in my life. I have my 18th birthday on Firday the 13th and it was very happy day without bad luck. Many times a saw a black cat cross me road and also anything bad dosen't happened. So omens and superstitions doesn't work;]