February 14th, St Valentine`s Day, the most popular day for lovers in the entire calendar, has now become thoroughly commercialised, so the old idea that men and women should send each other cards which they had designed and drawn themselves has virtually disappeared, giving way to ready made cards.
Valentine`s Day is named after the patron saint of lovers, a young priest who was killed for defying an edict forbidding young men from marrying, on the grounds that marriage turned them into poor soldiers.
The same date however, also honours two Greek gods who symbolized women and marriage.
The yellow crocus is the special symbol for the day, and the chance of a girl meeting a future partner is all the better if she wears one in her buttonhole.
(Courtesy Magnum Books)
Stirring the Christmas Pudding while it is being made is lucky for all those who take part – but it is absolutely essential to stir the pudding `sun-wise` (that is, east to west) as the custom is a throwback to one of the earliest ways of honouring the Sun God.
Each person as they stir the mixture can make one wish, and as long as they do not repeat it to a soul it should come true.
(Courtesy of Magnum Books)
Blowing Out Candles
An essential part of any birthday party is blowing out the candles. If the person whose birthday it is blows them out with a single breath, then he or she can be sure of good luck during the following year. This world-wide superstition appears to have originated with the Greeks who held that candles symbolized life and that the number displayed should represent the number of years that had already passed in a person`s life. You may also make a wish while blowing out the candles, and if you succeed in blowing all out in one go – and do not tell a soul what you have wished – then the wish will come true.
(courtesy Magnum books)
The cobweb is also claimed to have the power to quickly stop bleeding when laid over a wound, and as long as the wound is not too deep it does work!
In America, cobwebs are associated with two courting customs. If a girl finds a cobweb on her door then it indicates that her boyfriend is also making calls on another girl elsewhere. A cobweb found in the kitchen, say the people of Boston, is an omen that no love making goes on there.
There are one or two superstitions relating to the act of eating. For instance, the pleasant diversion of dining out is merely a visible sign of faithful dealing between host and guest, in effect forming a `living connection` between the two people.
In some parts of the world there are still people who treat the act of eating together as such a sacred occasion that the husband and wife will only eat at the same table during their marriage feast.
As to food itself, it is said that when eating fish you should always remove slices working towards the head; and after eating a boiled egg always break the shell or witches will use it for their evil machinations. If you cut a loaf of bread in uneven slices this is an omen that you have been telling lies, and if the loaf crumbles n your hands then an argument is brewing.
(Courtesy Magnum Books)