May 2, 2019

Random Thursday

We've reached the end of the Beliefs and Superstitions chapter in The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox. The next chapter is on Words, so that one should prove to be intriguing I think!

(image borrowed from PunchDrink)
When sending off a new ship it's usually "christened" with a bottle of champagne, though it wasn't always. In the 10th century, it was believed the departed would guide seamen on the ocean. Ships were blessed with the blood of sacrificial victims. This practice was eventually thought to be too barbaric and red wine replaced the blood. But then the Christian church complained that this was an affront against the sacraments and so white wine replaced red. Champagne being the best of the white wines was soon the favored choice.

Wow. From blood to champagne. Who would've thought?

(image borrowed from Inhabitat)
After one boasts, they usually knock on wood, this is a practice that comes from the Native Americans who believed that the oak was the home of the sky god. The Greeks thought this same thing about 2,000 years later. Since both cultures that bragging or boasting offended this god, they knocked on wood as a way to divert him from their bragging or as a way to ask forgiveness.

Wow. Never realized that knocking on wood was basically asking the sky god for forgiveness!

(image borrowed from Bustle)
Nowadays wearing black at funerals is a symbol of sadness and respect for the lost loved ones. But in the early days people believed that when a spirit departed this life, they would remain behind for fear of harsh judgment on their lives. These spirits would try to stay on earth by inhabiting a familiar body. Mourners would wear black and stay indoors in the shadows to hide from the spirits who would possess them.

Makes sense now why Lydia chose to dress like this! Lol.

(image borrowed from Piedmont Lifestyle)
Tombstones became a common practice in the early days, not as a symbol to tribute someone's final resting place but as a safety precaution. There was the belief that the spirits of the dead would come back to possess the body of the living to basically, live again. In order to keep the spirits in the ground, they would place a large stone on the coffin lid and bury them. As an extra precaution, another large stone was laid on top of the grave. Hence, the tombstone.


  1. Interesting. I've read superstion histories before and these ideas are all new to me. I'll be looking forward to your post about the words chapter. 📚

  2. I didn't know that about tombstones. How strange, they sure were very paranoid back then lol

  3. I really enjoy these posts! I always learn something new. Thanks for sharing! :)


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