American v. German superstitions

This picture accurately sums up all American superstitions in one pin.

Newsflash: My lady friend San Dee and I were yapping about Germans again and we’ve moved on from idioms to superstitions this week. It all started with something she saw on FB and then we just ran with it. No, we don’t have lives.

So, when we found a little down time, we googled “German superstitions”, and WOWEEEEEWOOOOOW, we were not disappointed. Let’s all sit back and take a trip down crazy lane and see what my friends and neighbors believe in today. Commentary provided by your favorite German experts and social analysts, Heather and San Dee.

German Superstitions that cover children, angry old women, beatings, charms and magic and rain. And MORE.

Whoever harms or kills a cat shall meet with great misfortune. I kind of thought killing in general brought you misfortune but if this only applies to cats then I better be off to kill whatever else I can find. Snakes, wild boars and angry frauen be damned! Also, there aren’t many cats anyway. Better watch your luck, you cat hating Germans.

It is not good to kill spiders. Well then how are you supposed to get them to stop KNITTING IN MY FUCKING WINDOW? Jesus.

If a stork builds its nest on your roof or chimney, you will live long and be wealthy. Or you will have a ton of other storks and a lot of stork poo, which no one appreciates. Also, I don’t need everyone thinking I’m a home base for breeding because storks have planted themselves on my roof. Unless they really are going to make me wealthy and in that case, carry on, storks, carry on.

If it rains in sunshine, then poison will fall from the sky. Poison, really? I don’t understand this…what happened to rainbows and unicorns? Oh, right. We’re in Germany.

Do not answer a witch’s question, or else she can take something from you. What if the witch’s question is “Will you answer my question?” What now? Does a shake of the head count as an answer? I think no matter what, if a witch is involved, you’re screwed. Also, we know what they’ll take. Your goddamned soul. Just avoid them.

Old women often cut out a foot-long piece of sod that their enemy has just walked over, and hang it in the chimney. Then their enemy will waste away. This seems a bit much when I’m sure you can just find some sort of home brewed acid to poison them with and not wait out the whole, I hope the sod trick works this year. Not effektive.

He who carries the tooth of a harrow found on the street will always recognize a witch. I have no idea what a damned harrow is or where I’d find their tooth but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the witches are the ones with the pointy black hats, black cats and brooms.

Whoever carries a harrow tooth found on a Sunday will see witches in the church with pails on their heads, but must leave the church before the 5 o’clock bells ring, or they will tear him apart. This is pretty specific. Why pails? Why the 5 o’clock bells? So many questions here. Also, is this the premise for a new movie because I’m really interested.

It is not good if one goes out in the morning and encounters an old woman. I’ll give you this one. I’ve never had a day full of luck after encountering an angry frau. Also, I think this should be revised to be any time of day. I’m sure it can be proven to be true.

Hens that crow like roosters are a sign of misfortune.
We’re going to have to line up a hen and rooster and make some noise so I can differentiate. Or how about we just do away with all the hens and up our rooster den or wherever they leave and hope for the best.

If, while riding a horse overland, a man should come upon a woman spinning, then that is a very bad sign; he should turn around and take another way. What is spinning? Like she’s twirling around? By herself? A lot? Because yeah, I try to avoid crazy people in fields too.

If you walk under a chicken roost, and a hen lets loose on you, it will bring you bad luck, if a rooster, good luck. And by lets loose you mean attack me, because I don’t consider that good luck, rooster or not.

He who walks between two old women early in the morning shall have only bad luck the rest of the day. He should consider himself lucky, especially if they even gave him the time of day.

To meet old women first thing in the morning means bad luck; young people, good luck. The thought of considering encountering children before 9am as good luck is horrifying.

Many men would rather let themselves be beaten to death, than to walk between two old women. I’d be thrilled to see this happen on a strasse in Germany. What great, unexpected entertainment. And you all do not need to wonder any more why we discuss angry FRAU so much. Men would rather die than be around them. Fabelhaft.

If an old woman greets you early in the morning, you must answer back, “The same to you!” Or not, and probably die by stoning. Your choice. Further, I’m beginning to see a paralleling of old women and witches. I’ll need to see their papers to know which superstition applies.It is unlucky to meet an old woman while going to an important event, but lucky to meet a young girl.
I’m guessing German men devised this one. Animals.

If a man comes across a virgin or a priest early in the morning, it means bad luck; a whore, good luck. Ok, so virgins, priests, old women and witches in the morning are bad luck. But seeing a whore or child in the morning – CONGRATULATIONS!! ITS YOUR LUCKY DAY!

Whores’ children are happier than those of married people. I thought this said WHORES ARE HAPPIER and I was all, well, YEAH OF COURSE.

He, whose first godchild belongs to a whore, shall marry well. I feel like if you’re not born to a whore, your life is over before it even started.

Unmarried women who desire husbands should, on the night before Saint Andrew’s day, naked, call on this saint, and their loved ones will appear to them in their sleep. Or just get naked in your bed and take a good image from the bank and he’ll be there in your head anyway. Don’t think we need to involve St. Andrew, who is probably already busy with other women’s stupid requests.

If a girl wishes to know what kind of hair her loved one has, on Christmas Eve she should reach backwards out the door, and she shall hold the hair in her hand. First, if someone did this to me, I’d have to tell them to get their hands back in their door and knock it off. Second, hair is not one of things I wish to know about a ‘loved one’. I’m guessing that by ‘loved one’ they really mean ‘lover’, so….no. Not doing all of that to find out about hair. I am, however searching for a superstition to discover various other physical attributes…

To learn if she shall marry within the next year, a virgin should knock on the chicken coop on Christmas Eve or at midnight. If a rooster cackles she will, if a hen cackles she won’t. I would comment on this, but it’s for virgins.

To discover if her lover will be upright or crooked, a girl must stand against a cord or a stack of wood on Christmas Eve and pull a log out backwards; her lover will be like the log. Well, now, THIS one, I’d like to try. I’m thinking whether crooked or upright…it’s still a log! Well done Germans!

Christmas Eve between 11 and 12 o’clock all single girls wake up. To learn whether or not they will marry in the next year, they take off all their clothes, stick their heads into the kitchen kettle and watch the bubbling water. Because this seems safe and hold on a second here. So, you’re telling me that in order for this to be effektive, I have to be naked? Which, is fine actually…and stick my head into the kitchen kettle…uh…ok…and watch the bubbling water…ok, still with ya. But then what? This is incomplete. Minus 5 points.

If the groom buckles the bride’s left shoe on their wedding day, she will take control of the marriage. Or she will do that anyway because men are like children.

Girls should pay attention to where the dogs bark on Saint Andrew’s Eve. Her groom will come from this area. So statistically, they’ll come from an area filled with trash, an alley filled with trash, a dog park or from someone else’s home. Perfect.

When the bride takes her clothes off, she must give one of her stockings to a bridesmaid, who will then throw it onto the gathered wedding guests. On whomever the stocking lands, he or she shall be the next to marry. Interesting twist but my feet sweat a lot so you’re welcome in advance.

At the end of the wedding celebration, the bride and groom are to sit down on the marriage bed, fully dressed, except for their shoes and stockings. One of the bridesmaids takes off the groom’s stocking, sits down on the floor with her back against the bed and throws it with her left hand over her right shoulder, aiming for the face of the groom. All the bridesmaids then repeat this, and the ones who succeed will soon be married. The the bride’s stocking is then removed by the young men and thrown in the same fashion, thereby determining which of them will be next. This is disgusting and also super awkward. After a day of walking around and sweating in your uncomfortable shoes on what is presumably the most nerve-wracking day of your life, potentially spilling all kinds of booze and cake on your feet…you then ASK your friends to 1. Touch your nasty socks and 2. Throw it in your face? No thanks. I’ll pass. Also, our guess is that if have the time and effort to do all this, you’ll just remain single.

If a stranger looks into the parlor on a Monday morning, he will cause the husband to beat his wife. And that will cause me to go find the stranger and beat him myself, shortly after I finish beating my husband for beating me for no reason.

If a woman or a girl loses her garter on the street, then her husband or suitor has been unfaithful. Pretty hard to lose a garter unless you are actually whoring around, and I’m not sure what that has to do with your husband but sure, blame him.

When a woman’s neck or throat itches, then she will soon go to a baptism; if her head itches it means she will be beaten. Its called smoking too much or getting lice. And if getting lice means getting beaten, what do you get for being mouthy?

If a dog runs between a woman’s legs, her husband will beat her. I’m noticing a trend that a husband can beat a wife for anything. Ladies, start doing push-ups. You’ve got a long life of swinging back ahead of you.

For as long as the food continues to boil or simmer on the table, the cook will be beaten by her husband. What is this trend of common superstitions about women getting the beat down from their husbands? If someone looks in your house on Monday, your head itches, if a dog runs between your legs, or if food simmers on the table, then it’s widely believed that you will be beaten by your husband? Do people still get married in Germany? Where are the superstitions about men getting beaten by their wives? Here’s one for you “if there are any or no clouds in the sky, a man will be beaten by his wife”….oh, and how about “when someone yawns on a Sunday in church, a husband is beaten by his wife with a bat.” Or oooh, this one, “if you pass someone in Germany that scowls, you can beat your husband with a garden hose until he bleeds.” Hurray!

Men should not stay in the house when women are filling beds with feathers, otherwise the feathers will poke through the ticking. Yeah, get the hell out.

It is not good to sew or patch something while still wearing it. It’s not good to sew at all. Pay someone else.

A shirt woven from thread spun by a girl under seven years of age will bring its wearer good luck. Yes, promote child sweatshops. Way to go, Germany. That’ll improve your image.

A shirt, spun by a girl between five and seven years of age, protects against magic. Reference above.

Whoever wears a shirt spun by a five year old girl, and appears before court, will receive justice in all proceedings. Seriously?Another one?

If one has difficulty dying, then he should be lain in the corridor, and he shall have an easy death. This one just seems cruel. Leave grampa in the hallway? C’mon.

Whew. That was just a third of the ones we found. You have no idea how many more exist.

So now what? Do we compare them to American superstitions? I guess we can. Here are a few that came to mind when we tried to think about what superstitions concerned us as kids, most you will notice, having to do with luck (instead of say, child labor, curses and poison)….

Find a horseshoe – good luck
Find a 4-leaf clover – good luck
Rabbits foot – good luck
A beginner will always have good luck: beginner’s luck
Open umbrella inside, bad luck
Pass a black cat, bad luck
To find a penny heads up, brings good luck
Apple a day keeps the doctor away
If you blow out all of the candles on your birthday cake with the first breath
you will get whatever you wish for
At the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold
An itchy palm means money will come your way

Hmmm. Let’s wrap this up simply.

American v. German superstitions? No contest here, Deutchland. You’ve got us beat.

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