Apr 25, 2019

Random Thursday

This chapter on Beliefs and Superstitions is pretty fun so far! I'm saddened that it is among the shortest of chapters though. Let's continue this educational journey through The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox!

(image borrowed from Harvard University)
Since salt was such a precious commodity for ten thousand years, to spill it was considered bad luck. The superstition was enhanced by Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting which depicted Judas spilling the table salt, which was a foreboding of great tragedy. Since Judas was on the left of Jesus, it's said that tossing salt over the left shoulder would be an antidote to evil.

Whoa. That's heady stuff.

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
Crossing your fingers for luck is a practice that predates Christianity and is actually a Pagan ritual. The original ritual involved two friends who cross their index fingers over the one making the wish to help trap it at the center of the cross, which is where benevolent spirits are said to live. To make sure the wish stayed in place and stay in the wisher's thoughts a piece of string was tied around the finger. This practice eventually turned into a memory aid.

Another intriguing tidbit.

(image borrowed from Descendants Wiki)
The original reasoning behind saying "bless you" after someone sneezes comes from the Ancient Greeks. It's said that when you sneeze, you're vulnerable to evil entering your body. Saying these words prevents that. Our tradition of the saying comes from 1665 when the black plague ran rampant. Sneezing was supposed to be one of the first symptoms. Infection meant death, so the action was met with a prayer "God bless you," and this was eventually shortened to just "bless you."

I didn't realize that the more modern version of the saying tied to the black plague! I always thought it was more of the first one with the ancient Greeks! Lol.

(image borrowed from Mashable)
Having "the blues" is saying that comes from the early English settlers believing that the "blue devils" or mean spirits followed them to their new home. These devils were the reasons behind their sadness. If they had a bout of depression, they had "the blues." Since no one could be sadder than the African American slaves their soulful music soon became known as "the blues" as well.

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
There was a curse known as Tecumseh's Curse where a Shawnee chief who died with Canada against the US in the War of 1812 placed a curse on the US presidency. He said that every president who began his presidency in a year that ended in a zero would die during his term. Until 2000 this ended up being true with the exception of Reagan who was shot during his term, but survived and possibly bringing an end to the curse.

The book goes on to list eight presidents including Reagan who all died in some such term of their presidential run. 

1 comment:

  1. I love these posts! I always learn something new :) Thanks for sharing!


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