Most North Americans can name one or two superstitions that affect their daily lives. Whether it's not seeing your groom before the wedding ceremony, or crossing your fingers for good luck, there are little things we all do to bring some good luck into our lives.
It's true, whether you believe in luck or not, we all seem to do these little rituals to avoid bad fortune. But where do they come from and why did people start doing them in the first place?
Find these answers and more in the pages below!
We're not exactly sure why we've done this for centuries, but some believe that misfortune would come to the couple if a groom sees his bride in her gown before the wedding. Others believe that it puts a curse on the marriage if he peeks too soon.
Others believe that it comes from more practical roots: the dowry tradition. Historically, fathers would offer money to men in the form of a 'dowry' in exchange for marrying their daughters.
The groom wouldn't meet his bride-to-be until the big day, and the only way to prevent the man from running away or changing his mind was to cover her in a veil that wasn't lifted until after the vows were exchanged.
Old wives' tales taught that crossing fingers warded off witches and evil spirits. Another explanation is that it could date back to a time when Christianity was illegal. Crossing fingers might have been a secret way for Christians to recognize one another.
Today, it is something we do when we wish for something to happen, or for when we make a promise that we secretly intend to break. Crossing your fingers behind your back somehow takes away your responsibility for the things you say or do.
While many of us just say it now as a force of cultural habit, saying "bless you" when someone sneezes is believed to have been made popular by Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great).
During that time, the plague was sweeping across Europe. Since one of the first signs of the plague was sneezing, The Pope suggested that saying "God bless you" after someone sneezed might somehow protect them from certain death.
It's not a common sensation, but have you ever felt a need to scratch your palm? Depending on which hand it is, it could indicate that you're about to receive some cash.
Some ancient beliefs suggest that itching is a sign of internal energy moving through your palms. Your right hand moves dynamic or active energy, if you feel itchy there, then you are going to be paid for a service you provided to someone.
If your left hand is itchy, this energy is receptive or inactive. Since you are feeling receptive, new services will come to you, but you'll also have to pay for them.
Do you knock on wood when you say a wish out loud? Find out why we do this on the next page!