ANN MASSEY O’REGAN tells us of 13 Irish superstitions we should be aware of – just in case!
Superstitions of fearing Friday the 13th stem from the 13 apostles at the Last Supper. In Ireland, we pride ourselves on being one of the most superstitious nations in the world, so as a widely Catholic country, Friday 13th is not a great day.
We are also an ancient and enigmatic nation so no point in trying to rationalize why so many more of our superstitions are Pagan based.
Here are 13 Irish superstitions that should be heeded!
1.) Willfully or not what happens if you damage or destroy a fairy ring or fairy fort? Well, you are pretty much asking to be cursed not just for the rest of your life, but for your entire family and generations to come. Those fairies do like to hold a grudge.
2.) You might think someone close to dying is the most bad luck you can have – WRONG! If you don’t stop the clock, close the west facing windows or turn the mirrors to face the wall you’re in trouble. The Sluagh will come for the soul of your beloved and they will be devoured or tormented in hell for eternity.
3.) Delighted with your new shoe purchase? You might not be if you put them on a table to show them off. Someone in your family will die within a year.
4.) Didn’t heed the shoe advice? Once you’re in the graveyard watch your step in your fancy footwear. If you trip and tumble, it’s a sign you will be dead within 12 months. Of course, if you fall and hit your head off a gravestone it may be sooner than that.
5.) So, your hair is being tossed about in the breeze. Ah, a silver comb on the ground, just what you need. Except that the second you pick it up a blood curdling scream will reach your ears on the wind. The Banshee is coming for you.
6.) The horseshoe nailed about your door keeps away evil spirits? That’s nice. Here’s hoping your DIY skills are up to scratch. If a nail comes lose and that horseshoe swings 180 degrees, all that negative energy receives an open invitation into your abode.
7.) You’re passing a Church, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s safer to keep both hands on the steering wheel. BLESS YOURSELF! While you’re at it do the same for passing hearses, full ones at least.
8.) If your family isn’t posh enough to have its own Banshee, hire a professional ‘keener’ to do the job instead. Don’t skimp on the food and drink payment either. If the keening over your dear deceased isn’t done at the right moment you invoke the forces of evil and the Hounds of Hell will swing by for their soul and take it back to eternal damnation.
9.) You’ve just sold your car and the buyer is holding his hand out for some of the cash back. Outrageous! No, just give him his ‘luck’ money and he’ll be on his way. Fair enough it used to be a penny but inflation happens.
10.) It might be bad manners not to pass someone a knife when they need it but tough, it’s best for everyone in the long run. Also, don’t cross knives for fear of a quarrel or give a knife as a gift for fear of more bad luck. Just stay away from knives.
11.) If you own a boat listen carefully. Changing the name, painting it green, dropping a coin overboard, being last out of the harbour or inviting a red head on board are all silly things to do – unless you are looking to spend your last moments under the waves.
12.) If you see a solitary magpie on your travels it means impending sorrow. To negate this, you must ‘salute’ the bird verbally such as wishing it good morning. Of course, this very act could earn you a place in an asylum which is sorrowful enough. The salute may be less protection for you and more amusement for the magpie.
13.) Your new shoes are off the table and on your feet, they survived the graveyard trip and you’re now admiring them in the mirror. A bird flies in the house and startles you so you kick over the mirror and it shatters. seven years bad luck are coming your way as the mirror was holding your reflection and your soul complete. That broken mirror also broke away a piece of your soul…