Are the British superstitious? I think so. You often hear people say 'bless you' when someone sneezes or 'Touch Wood' when they want to be lucky.
I found it quite interesting to learn the origins of these superstitions or beliefs as they are part of British culture.
This is what I found:
1 'Bless you'. It is thought that when we sneeze, part of our soul is leaving our body during that quick yet uncontrollable moment, and the devil would seize that opportunity to steal our soul. If someone near you says 'bless you' when you sneeze, you will be protected against the devil's will. This being the case you should always thank the person saying 'bless you as they are trying to protect you.
2 British people touch wood or knock on wood to prevent bad luck. Some believe that there is a little elf in trees and in wood. So by touching wood or furniture you stop the devil listening to what you just said, so that you keep your good luck coming in. This could explain why the British tend to love wooden furniture.
3 British people love plants and flowers if you can find a clover with four leaves instead of the usual three, then you are thought to be very lucky as you got something from God, something that can fend off bad luck.
4. Animals play an important part in British superstitions. For example, it is considered to be lucky to meet a black cat. You may notice that a lot of black cats are featured on many good luck greeting cards and birthday cards in this country. However, black cat means bad luck in North America such as the U.S and Canada.
5. According to some, one ancient British superstition holds that if a child rides on a bear's back it will be protected from whooping-cough. While in ancient times bears used to roam Britain, now they are only kept in zoos.
6. Another animal that has a superstitious colour is ravens. It was long believed that if the ravens leave the tower then the crown of England will be lost, and the Empire will be fallen. So that tradition is still kept till this day at the Tower of London which has at ravens which are taken good care of but their wings slightly cut off.
7. Finally it's numbers that are loved or hated. The number '7' is lucky whereas '13' is not, which I think is well-known throughout the world. I know that the Chinese love the number '8' but '4' is to be avoided as it sounds the same as the word death. In Italy 13 and 17 are the unlucky numbers instead of 3 and 7, which are the lucky numbers.
I wonder what is the lucky number (or unlucky number) in your country and why. And I am looking forward to hearing from you.
A good weekend to you all and I will be back next week