Children’s Superstitions

Children are superstitious beings.  It makes sense; they don’t have much control over their worlds and are trying hard to figure things out.  Uncertainty is fertile soil for superstition. Here are the major areas of childhood superstition.

  1. Oaths – The simplest magic is reciting an oath designed to insure truth.  For example, “Cross my heart and hope to die,” or “Lightening will strike me if I’m lying.”
  2. Behaviors – Superstition is also connected with behaviors such as, “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back.”
  3. Lucky objects – Some of the most popular lucky objects, guaranteed to provide luck or success are four leaf clovers, coins, stones, hats, wish bones, and others that are probably more idiosyncratic, like socks.
  4. Rituals – Spitting at certain times or saying certain words can be rituals but probably the best known occurs at online casino birthdays. It goes like this: Happy birthday is sung, you silently make a wish, you blow out the candles with one breath, and you never tell anyone what you wished or it will not come true.  I hesitate to ask how many adults still do this.

These superstitions have a purpose – we hope they give us good luck, more control, or less uncertainty.  Adults probably don’t believe in most of these superstitions but most of us will say, “No harm done,” when we avoid walking under a ladder or when we pick up a penny. “Find a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck.”

Happy Halloween.

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