Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More Appalachian Superstitions: Morning Meals and More

Earlier this week I covered how to get out of bed without disturbing your good luck, but what about breakfast? Is eating is as laced with danger as getting out of bed?

Evidently so. Here are a few things you should know before dipping a spoon into your bowl of oatmeal:

1. Eating from an uneven (wobbly) plate will bring bad luck. Perhaps this is an indication that you're eating from a dirty table (debris under the plate causing it to wobble), so that means you're lazy which means you don't deserve good luck?

2. When eating a boiled egg, be sure to poke a hole in the bottom of the shell to let the devil out. Why he'd be in there is the question. Maybe the smell of boiled eggs reminds him of home?

3. If you slice bread unevenly, you've been telling lies. The most likely explanation is that your hand is trembling from nervousness.

4. If you spill salt, you must pinch some of it up quickly and toss it over your left shoulder. The pinching, of course, must be done with the right hand. Otherwise, bad luck will follow you.

5. If you eat fruit grown in a graveyard, you'll die within the year. Who would want to eat that anyway? Obvious explanation is the possible carrying of disease by the fruit in question.

6. Don't eat pie on Tuesday--it will make you ill. Probably because you're eating rich food on a workday. Desserts were Sunday food.

7. If you take the last piece of bread off a plate, you will never marry. However, if you take it when it is offered to you, you will marry. So it's all up to you--married or single? Taking the bread indicates selfishness, taking the bread when offered indicates good manners.

8. Onions and garlic will keep evil spirits away from you. Probably the smell will do it! You don't need to eat the onions/garlic--just carry some around with you.

9. If you tell a bad dream before breakfast, it will come true. This is one I am mighty careful about--I mean, I don't really believe it's true, but I don't want to take any chances.

10. Sprinkle salt behind an unwanted guest and they will leave. Probably because they think you're losing your mind.

11. Drop a biscuit while taking them out of the oven and you will have unwanted company. But get rid of them by using #10 above.

12. Whistling before breakfast brings bad luck. Taking things too lightly, perhaps?

Here are a some websites listing Appalachian superstitions:

Mountain Folklore --from Tennessee

Mountain Memories--from southwestern Virginia

Appalachian Healing Traditions--linking mountain ways with the Native American traditions, from North Carolina

West Virginia (and other places)--on Yahoo Answers. Interesting lists!

Collection from a class at Mountain State University in southern West Virginia.

Sports superstitions for a girl's basketball team in West Virginia. I thought I was bad!

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