Common Irish Superstitions or Customs
One must see the new moon for the first time over the left shoulder, then turn the silver in one’s pocket to have good luck.
Never open an umbrella indoors, it brings bad luck, and we all know how unlucky it is to walk under a ladder.
The mere mention of misfortune or evil could bring misfortune but it is customary ‘to touch wood’ having made the statement. It is thought this is a substitute for the Sign of the Cross.
You could ward off evil spirits by throwing a pinch of salt over the left shoulder. If the salt is spilled, however, there will be a quarrel. Some charms keep evil spirits away.
A horseshoe over the door is supposed to do this. It is a ‘good luck’ symbol. If you find a horseshoe you must return home at once, without speaking to anyone, and hang it over the door, prongs up. If the prongs hand down the luck will fall out. It must be fastened with three nails each driven in by three blows of the hammer, all done in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
If you have a blister on your tongue, then you have told a lie.
If your ears are burning someone is talking about you.
Cold shivers your spine, someone is walking over the spot that will be your grave.
If you have either a whistlin’ woman or a crowin’ hen, get rid of them, they are two worst things a man could have about the place!
The gift of a knife cuts friendship.
Don’t postpone your wedding or turn back when going on a journey.
It is not lucky for a red-haired woman to go into anyone’s house on New Year’s Day. And don’t throw out you ashes, sweepings of the floor or dish water. Remember the fairies are on the move January 1st.
Some housewives will not sweep the dust out of the front door in case they sweep the fortune of the house.
Up to the first quarter of the twentieth century it was considered very unlucky to buy clothes for a baby before it was born.
The first cradle should not be new. Temporary and sometimes permanent accommodation was generally a horse’s color or a drawer of a wardrobe.
A baby born with a caul, or umbilical cord around the neck, was superstitiously regarded as a lucky omen preservative against drowning. Sailors who are superstitious believe that a ship carrying one of these cauls will never be lost.
It is lucky to start planting potatoes for a new season on Good Friday, should it only be a few for the dinner.
It was unlucky to lend anything on May 1st or to give away milk or even a live coal to light a neighbour’s fire in the bog. These customs had no great significance other than “it was custom.”
If the wind is coming from Ballyhushy, there’ll be rain. Ballyhushy – another name for Kilnahushogue.
Put a fresh blade of grass across the newly born baby’s mouth and you’ll have a good singer in the family.
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