Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Superstitions

I admit that I'm a bit superstitious.  But most of my superstitions are a little unusual.  Black cats don't bother me a bit, I think they're beautiful.  And while I'll usually try to avoid walking under a ladder, if I happen do so--say one of those big construction ones on a city sidewalk--I don't lose any sleep over it.

No, mine run more along the lines of: Seeing two crows is good luck, but seeing only one crow alone is bad luck.  And to ward off the bad luck if I see one crow, I have to repeat an affirmation I learned somewhere along the line three times, followed by repeating something my husband--who loves crows--always says when he sees one.  I don't have to say anything when I see two crows, but I usually do exclaim something along the lines of "yay, two crows!"

See what I mean?  Actually now that I think about it ... that one is kind of a combo superstition/OCD example. And odd.

Okay, here's a more normal one - hats on beds:  Bad luck!  I recently saw a photo in one of my decor magazines styled with a hat on the bed. WHAT were they thinking???  I wanted to write a letter to the editor! 

In fact I found the photo and was going to scan it in to show you, but then I thought--what if it brings bad luck to my blog?  Or my readers? I love my followers, subscribers and the random reader too much to expose them to possible negativity.  So I'm just showing you a hat instead. You are welcome. (By the way, if  you are a random reader, please come back--I actually do show projects and decorating stuff too, not just bizarre musings!)

I have two superstitions that relate specifically to the New Year.  The first one is to eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck.  The second is it is bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up after New Year's Day.  Well, I made black-eyed pea soup on New Year's Day, so that was covered. 

But the outside decorations are still up, and although I took down the inside decorations and took the ornaments off the tree, the tree itself (faux this year) is still up.

Looking around the neighborhood, I see that most people do not share my Christmas decorations superstition.  So I started wondering about the origins of my various notions.

Now believe it or not, most of my superstitions, and superstitions in general, have some basis in reality.  Over the years some of them get added to, or convoluted--kind of like the game of gossip.

The crows for instance.  While my little twists may be unique, it started with farmers thinking one crow was bad luck, because if one crow was there, more were sure to follow, and that could be devastating for the crops.  I haven't found out where the two crows are good luck aspect came from yet, and the affirmations are all me. :-)

Hats on beds originally came from when European royalty would place the crown at the top of the coffin during funerals.  It developed into the idea that a hat on the bed attracts death to the home.   

Then that superstition developed into just a general bad luck thing.  There are two theories about where that came from.  One is that people used to have head lice, so if you put a hat on a bed odds are the bed would have lice too.  Yuk.  That one makes sense though if you didn't want strangers bringing lice into your home. The other is old cowboy lore that the static electricity that comes off your head when you take your hat off are evil spirits.  What that has to do with a bed, I have no idea, but anyway it's bad luck. 

Bet you didn't know I was such a font of knowledge did ya?

So back to my New Year's superstitions' origins.  The black-eyed peas one I know:  It's a Southern tradition, and my grandmother was from Georgia. So she passed it down to my mother, who passed it down to me. I try to make black-eyed pea soup every New Year's Day.  I can't say that it works--there have been years that I didn't do it and I didn't notice much of a difference--but I don't like taking the chance, and it's a good way to use up any left over ham from Christmas Day dinner.

The decorations one isn't as easy to figure out. In fact, I did a google search, and I found out it's bad luck to take your decorations down before the 12th night of Christmas, but also bad luck to keep them up after the 12th night. I got excited when I read that since it gave me more time. I was ready in a heartbeat to swap my old superstition for this one--especially since mine didn't show-up anywhere, but this one is on the internet so it has to be true! But the 12th night turned out to be last night, so I'm screwed anyway.  So is everyone else on my block.

My guess is it all started with some wife nagging her husband to take the Christmas lights down. And that brought up a childhood memory of the first year I convinced my stepfather to put outside Christmas lights up ... He turned them on again for Valentine's Day ... and then again for Easter.

Hmmm ... I wonder if my mom made up the bad luck story the next year ...

Everything will come down this weekend.  And the black-eyed peas will cover any bad mojo ... I hope.

How about you?  Decorations still up?  Any superstitions you want to share? 

Sharing at: French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday


  1. Okay, I'm laughing. I though I was the only one with these odd little quirks. For me, I don't like to go backwards. If we are out running errands and my husband passes a place we were supposed to go I'll just pass on turning around and going back. Never good to go backwards. LOL

  2. Tami from - that hat on the bed is a superstition of mine too, but it came from the movie "Drugstore Cowboy"

    Bob: Hats. Okay? Hats. If I ever see a hat on a bed in this house, man, like you'll never see me again. I'm gone.
    Diane: That makes two of us.
    Nadine: Why a hat?
    Bob: Because that's just the way it is, sweetie.

    Matt Dillon's character Bob hated hats on beds and one of the characters in the movie died shortly after a hat was discovered on a bed ...

  3. i don't have any superstitions, but i believe in ghosts and spirits! but i don't have anything that i won't do or have to do if something happens.... but i found all of this very interesting. this kind of stuff does amaze me- like where they originated from.... love that hat theory!

  4. i "discovered" your blog through another virginia blogger this morning...i'm so glad i did!! i'm going to enjoy reading your blog, i can tell. (i'm a military wife in the f'burg, va area) i don' thave any superstitions...but i DO still have xmas lights up on the house...which will tick my HOA off within a week. :o)

  5. Hey Deborah,

    I had so much fun with you, Conie and Mary at the DC Flea...we must get together again soon.

    When I lived in Texas, my neighbor always tried to get me to eat black eyed peas on New Years. She said it brought good luck and if I did not eat them, something bad would happen to me. I never ate them.....

    Flash forward 31 years...she is divorced and I am still happily married...can you guess who had better luck?

    Janet xox

  6. Good Morning, Deborah!

    Nope, no superstitions, nope not one.

    We leave the manger crib empty until Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of our Christ Child, the 12th day of Christmas is Epiphany, day the 3 Kings visited Baby Jesus, so this is why we kept all of our decorations up. I still do - just starting to put them up now - I do a lot of decorating, so I take a while putting them away. This year cleaning and repairing good first.

    Our outside decorations usually get put away first, but I keep all except our wreaths, which are up to welcome visitors, in the back yard. I don't particularly care what my neighbors think of what I put up - so we put it in the back yard where we can enjoy seeing it each night while it's all lit up! Yeah, weird I know, but why spend the money on stuff to show off the neighbors? My kids and now grandkids love it because they can look at the lights through our windows all through the house and see the outside!

    Love black cats, so pretty, had one and it was the nicest cat ever. I think hats should be hung up and put away because the should be.

    Nothing else comes to mind!

    Have a blessed day!


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