Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Guest post submitted by The_Prestigiator
I consider myself a Christian. However, like most people who are Orthodox Christians, I also come from a very cultured and traditional home. Old wives tales and folklore are commonplace in my household and the homes of most of my friends.
Superstitions and myths are so fun that even Stevie Wonder dedicated a song to them. I don't believe in them wholeheartedly yet I still find myself buying into them.
Whenever I have a dream for example, I immediately rush to interpret it. According to my culture, seeing someone who has died in your dream means that someone you know will come to pass as well. Once, I had dream that I was walking in the rain and holding an an umbrella over my head. My umbrella teemed with spiders and with every step I took, the spiders came splashing down into puddles. Naturally, the dream freaked me out but my mom informed me that such my dream suggested that good luck awaited me in the future. The next day I won seven dollars on my mega million lottery ticket and aced my English midterm. Although I know that the midterm grade was proportional to my hard work and study methods, I couldn't help but focus on the umbrella dream.
My life has been filled with great faith but also many superstitious beliefs: When I was a baby, my mom pinned everything I owned with a tiny soft icon of a patron saint but also an eye. The Evil Eye is big in the Greek world and, to ward off jealousy and cruel intentions, frazzled mothers place the eye upon their babies' jackets and pillows. (Spitting gently either onto the ground or on the person at hand is another way Greek people supposedly ward off evil.) Additionally, my mom makes me walk around the neighborhood every New Year's for 10 minutes; when the clock strikes midnight, I march up to my front door, place a pomegranate before it, and then smash the fruit in half with my foot. If I am able to accomplish the given task on my first attempt, I gain good luck for my family for a year.
Other examples? Whenever I sneeze, I immediately wonder who the heck is talking about me. I get crazy excited when I stumble upon a four-leaved clover. When an eyelash falls upon my cheek I take it and make a wish. I grow uncomfortable upon spying a black cat. I never walk under ladders, open umbrellas inside the house, or kill ladybugs. I don't count stars because my godmother once told me that it leads to the growth of three warts on your hands (didn't believe her at first but when my little sister grew tiny warts upon doing so I decided to put an end to my star counting). Moreover, I find myself knocking on wood a lot.
The only superstition I don't pay any mind to is Friday the 13th. I happen to think that is a bunch of hoo-ha.
Many of my relatives lead simultaneously religious and superstitious lifestyles. Interestingly enough, the Orthodox church supports a few of these old wives tales (the evil eye is such an example as is anything with three 6's placed in a row).
Still, is my half-hearted belief in magic or superstition somewhat innocent? Or is it unreasonable and does it make me a pagan? Do you buy into any superstitions or do you categorize it as sinful behavior?