A broken mirror will bring you 7 years of bad luck.
One year at summer camp, when I was about 15, I dropped the same mirror 7 times within a week. Lucky me: I'll be working off the bad luck until about 2027. This does not include all the other mirrors I've broken since then, so it's quite possible that I will have bad luck for the rest of my natural life... and then some.
That is... if I actually believed in superstitions. Which I don't.
At least, I think I don't.
My mother's Irish family was very superstitious. Or as I saw it when I was young, very "rules-oriented." By that I mean that there seemed to always be some sort of rule about the oddest things.
There were, of course, the old standards:
- "Never walk under a ladder."
- "Don't open an umbrella in the house."
- "If your ears are hot, it means someone is talking about you."
- "A four-leafed shamrock (or clover) is good luck."
- "Three butterflies together mean good luck."
- "A cricket in the house brings good luck." (and a lot of noise)
- "Don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back."
- "If you drop a fork, it means someone is coming to visit."
- "Death come in threes."
- "A cat can suck the breath out of a baby."
- "A bird in the house is a sign that death is coming."
- "If a black cat crosses your path, you'll have bad luck."
- "The number 13 is bad luck."
- "If you spill salt, you will have bad luck unless you throw some over your left shoulder into the face of the devil who is waiting there." (ultra-creepy, when you think about it)
- "If you sneeze, someone must say 'God bless you,' to drive away the devil."
- "Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you'll have good luck." - The caveat: this rule is only valid if the penny is lying head's up. The good luck is negated if the penny's head is facing down. When I think of the fortune in pennies that I've passed up during my lifetime, just because their head's were down...
- "Knock on wood" - If something good happens, and you want that goodness to continue, you'd better knock on a wooden object as quickly as possible or face the consequences. Heaven help you if you knock on some other substance, such as metal or a wood veneer. I once jokingly said, "Knock on plastic," and knocked on a plastic table. I thought my mother would faint.
- "If your palm itches, it means you'll be coming into money" - I have had many itchy palms, but I'm still waiting for the money.
- "A horseshoe hung above a doorway is good luck" - this is only valid if the horseshoe is turned upward, or the luck will run out. I discovered this when my grandmother screamed upon seeing the horseshoe she had given me hung the wrong way. I promptly took it down and never re-hung it.
- "Pulling out a gray hair means 10 more will grow back in its place" - while not exactly a superstition, it is scary, nonetheless.
As for me, I don't actually believe that having a cricket in the house is good luck, and I'll do everything in my power to shoo it away. I don't like black cats, but I won't go out of my way to avoid them. I've walked under ladders, opened umbrellas in the house, and stepped on cracks, and all has been well.
I do have a pot of shamrocks that I keep because they were my grandmother's. I do say, "God bless you" when someone sneezes. And I tend not to pick up pennies that are "head's down." But these are mainly just habits, not things in which I truly believe.
Although I'm not so sure about the gray hair thing. I'm pretty sure that one is true.
Written for the 9th Edition, Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture: Irish Superstitions.