All Hallows Eve

31 10 2011

Behold, it is a dark and thunderous night (but please, no rain, or the toilet paper will be impossible to lob over the tree limbs).

It is—BOM BOM BOM  . . . All Hallows Eve. The night that invites superstition, just as the dawn invites the dew.

What superstitions have we, this 31st of October? Let’s share—

Parents in remote villages in India believe a measles infection indicates a visit from God, and to vaccinate would deprive their child of that visit. They also believe the vaccine will cause the number “666” to appear on their child’s body.

Spitting three times, or saying “pooh, pooh, pooh” after the birth of a healthy baby will, according to some, ward off the evil eye and protect the babe from demons.

Should you want to get back at the kid who stole your cupcake, surreptitiously rubbing a toad on his skin will cause an outbreak of warts (bwahahahahah).

Hordes of healthcare workers believe a full moon brings chaos and disruptive patients to the Emergency Department and that Fridays, particularly Friday the 13th, bring excessive trauma cases and even more chaos. And, should anyone suggest a shift is “quiet,” all of hell will actually break loose.

In parts of Ukraine, mothers will not bathe children infected with chickenpox until all lesions are crusted over, believing it not safe for the child.

A few baseball players believe peeing on their hands will toughen them up (the hands, not the guys). At least one NHL player repeatedly dunked his hockey stick in the toilet to break scoring slumps and another talked to the net posts to make them his friends, believing they would cause opponents’ pucks to bounce off the posts during games.

In Louisiana, a few years back, some believed that a nosebleed could be stopped by putting cobwebs up the nose, yellow paper under the top lip, or by crisscrossing two match sticks in one’s hair and sprinkling salt in the hair. Teething woes were fixed by tying an animal bone or alligator tooth to a string and hanging it around the neck, although garlic in a pouch would do in a pinch.

One can dive deep to find superstitions, or it’s as easy as asking relatives. Superstitions abound, and the magical thinking is practiced by a surprising number of Americans.

Just what do you believe, on this All Hallows Eve? Will you step on a crack, and risk breaking your mother’s back?

By Trish Parnell



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