For many, a superstition is a power that influences daily life in the form of encouraging good luck or helping to avoid bad luck. There are many superstitions observed today by thousands of people.
I recently created a unit study, geared to kids aged 8-11, that talks about the origins of superstitions and why we believe certain things can bring bad luck or good luck. It is interesting what started some of these beliefs and fears that have been carried from generation to generation for hundreds, even thousands of years.
I remember as a child being concerned about stepping on cracks, or walking under ladders. But as an adult I don't give too much thought to the superstitions anymore. I was engaged on a Friday the 13th (and have been married over 30 years) and I have had two black cats join the family through the years. I love to go out and take photos of the full moon (and I don't howl) and I reserve the clover patch in my yard for the bunnies, not to hunt for a four-leafed one.
I am a true believer of understanding things enough to make your own choices and decisions. When you are aware of why things are practiced, believed or followed then you can make a better choice as to whether that suits your beliefs, customs or situation.
To find out more about the origins of some superstitions visit the Quite a Character Classroom and download the unit study.
Calm Down Little Black Cat: Clever Baby Series (Book 1)
Oh no! Little black cat, Bella has spilt her milk and is very upset and angry. By focusing on different activities and happier thoughts she calms herself down and feels better.
Good Luck or Bad?
In times of trouble people will often focus on items or symbols of good luck to offer them hope of better things to come. These items and symbols vary through history and across cultures. Sometimes, a good luck item from one culture may mean bad luck in another!
For example the peacock (and its feathers) for some. symbolize truth, honor, beauty, and strength. Many people will decorate with peacock feathers to help bring good fortune into their homes.
But, in some places peacock feathers are connected to the Greek myth of Argus, a giant who had a hundred eyes. According to the myth, after Argus was killed he was honoured by having his hundred eyes preserved in the peacock's tail. The idea that peacock's are covered in eyes brings in the superstition of the evil eye. Which would make peacock feathers an unwanted decoration in a home.
Book recommendation: The Wish Carvers by Kathleen Gauer
This is a fun-to-read storybook, based on the adage, "Be careful what you wish for". When two sibling elves, Fay and Eddie, come across a magic knife that will turn whatever they carve into reality, all their desires come true. But with each wish granted comes more and more complications. Can they find a way to return to their old peaceful life?
Can wishes come true?
Some superstitions have been developed into customs (like birthday cake and candles) and some are presented to children in rhyme and story. Obviously we want to wish people well (which is why we offer a 'bless you' to someone's sneeze) and wouldn't we all want our wishes to come true.
But it is important to remember that wishes need to be followed with intent and actions to help them come true. If you wish you could be healthier, you need to follow steps for a healthy journey. If you wish for money, you need to find ways you could generate that money.
As exciting as it is to wish upon a star, the power of the wish is only as strong as the commitment of the person to make that wish come true.
Still, to send your wish upon the breeze (with the blow of a dandelion) or into the heavens (with the puff of a candle) can keep hope alive. The wish for something better, the hope for something special - these things will often help keep our spirits up, especially in times where bad luck or worry are the strongest.
Here is an activity to make your own dandelion wishes.
Personal Good Luck story
Do you carry a good luck charm, or have one hanging in your house?
Show it to your children. Talk about why you have it, what you wish for then have them write a good luck story that includes that item or custom but adding in what they would wish for.