This discussion based CST activities page focuses on our long held superstitious beliefs (both for good luck and bad luck), fears and phobias.
Have fun with it and promote discussion and story telling.
At the end of the pictures, try to find out who is the most and least superstitious amongst the group.
Who is a scaredy cat and who is braver than brave?
Enjoy the music which is interspersed throughout the activity.
NB if you click on the first picture, a slide show should open ...
Round 1. Good luck
Four leaf clover - "One leaf represents faith, one hope, one love and, if a fourth leaf is present, that's luck.”
Picking up a penny - "Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you'll have good luck. Give it to the best of friends, then your luck will never end!"
Lucky horseshoe - It is said that the ship of Admiral Nelson called 'Victory' had a good luck horseshoe nailed to it's mast. Of course, the horseshoe has to be positioned so as to catch the luck.
Throw salt over your shoulder - Spilling salt is apparently bad luck and throwing a pinch over your left shoulder (your 'sinister side') reverses that bad luck. Legend says that the devil is always standing behind you, so throwing salt in his eye will distract him from causing trouble.
Black cat - A black cat crossing your path means good luck. A black cat cleaning its face in front of the door is a sign of company. A black cat eating grass is a sign of bad luck. A black cat following you home indicates good luck.
Fingers crossed - A gesture originally meant to invoke God's protection, now it is more commonly used when one tells a white lie.
Rabbit's foot - The Celts first associated rabbits (the whole rabbit, not just it’s severed foot) with good luck back in 600 B.C. Since rabbits live underground in burrows, it was believed they could communicate with the spirits of the underworld. To make the foot lucky, the rabbit has to be captured or killed in a graveyard, it must be killed on a Friday and it must be the left hind foot.
Ladybird - To have a Ladybird land on you is said to bring good luck and to represent a magical moment. And we all know the rhyme, which represents a warning "Ladybird, ladybird, Fly away home, Your house is on fire And your children all gone; All except one And that's little Ann, And she has crept under The frying pan."
Wishbone - A chicken wishbone would be snapped apart by two people while they were each making a wish. The person holding the longer piece was said to have good fortune or a wish granted. If the bone cracked evenly in half, both people would have their wishes come true.
Touch wood - This saying is said to have been preceded by a Latin version - 'absit omen', meaning 'far be that omen from us'.
Has anyone ever found a four leaf clover? Did it bring them good luck?
Who picks up coins if they find them on the street? Who keeps them? Who passes them on?
Who has, or has had at some point, a lucky horseshoe on their door?
Who has ever thrown salt over their shoulder for good luck?
Who has ever owned a black cat?
Who crosses their fingers behind their back when they tell a white lie?
Did anyone's relative keep the rabbit's foot for good luck?
Who believes ladybirds bring good luck?
Who breaks the wishbone at the Christmas table?
Who knocks or touches wood for good luck?
song break - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKuJUxGntRI
Round 2. Bad luck
Spilt milk - "There is no point crying over spilt milk, what's done is done." Don't be upset over something that cannot be fixed, often something minor.
Umbrellas - "Never open an umbrella indoors, as bad luck will come raining down on you!" Also, if you drop an umbrella, never pick it up yourself.
Ladders - Walking under a ladder is said to break the Holy Trinity, represented by a triangle. So it is a potentially blasphemous act.
Breaking mirrors - Mirror superstitions probably evolved from the time when the first humans saw their reflections in a pool of water, believing that the image was their actual soul and to endanger it would mean risking injury to the other self. It was the Romans who tagged to the broken mirror a sign of seven years bad luck.
Stairs - Crossing on the stairs is said to be bad luck and probably dates back to a time before bannisters were invented, so there was a real risk of a person falling from the unguarded side.
666 - In 2018 the last flight '666 to HEL' flew, as many superstitious people refused to board it. HEL is Helsinki, by the way! 666 is said to be 'The number of the beast'. It comes from the 'Book Of Revelations' in The Bible.
Number 13 - There are several possibilities as to why this number is 'Unlucky 13'. Judas was the thirteenth person to take his seat at the last supper, the crucifixion occurring on the thirteenth of Nisan (Jewish calendar) and the execution of the Knights Templar was on Friday 13th. Many hotels have removed 13th floors and rooms, such is the fear associated with this number.
Cracks - "Step on a crack and break your mother's back!". This is said to relate to a fear of empty crevices and what might lurk there.
Seeing the bride before the wedding - You've probably heard that it's bad luck to see your fiancé on the wedding day before your ceremony. The reason being that, back when marriages were arranged, the bride and groom weren't allowed to see or meet each other at all until they were at the altar.
While it's been difficult to find the origins of 'bad luck comes in threes', psychologists argue that this belief persists because people crave certainty. By creating a limit on the events, e.g. three, we feel comforted because we see an end to a run of bad luck or deaths.
Who thinks spilling milk brings bad luck?
Who avoids opening an umbrella indoors?
Who avoids walking under ladders?
Who gets upset when they break a mirror?
Who will wait at the bottom of the stairs to avoid crossing on them?
What is your lucky number?
Who stays home on Friday the 13th?
Who watches for cracks when they are walking?
Who, when they got married, avoided seeing the bride, or being seen?
Who believes bad things come in threes?
song break - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWAUe7WIVTc
Magpie - As the well known rhyme, "One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told" shows it is only seeing a lone magpie that brings bad luck and groups of magpies are said to predict the future.
Who salutes a single magpie?
Round 3. More good luck (thank goodness!)
'The Blarney Stone' is a block of limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the 'gift of the gab' (great eloquence or skill at flattery).
The 'Something old ...' tradition is based on an Old English rhyme that dates back to 19th-century Lancashire. It describes the items a bride should have on her wedding day: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a sixpence in your shoe."
Giving coal is said to ensure good luck for the coming year/ The 'first footing' tradition on New Year's Day dictates that a dark-haired male should be the first into the house and he should carry bread, salt, coal and a drink. These represent food, flavour, financial prosperity and good cheer.
Saint Christopher is the Patron Saint of Good Luck and of Travellers. "Saint Christopher, intercede for me, and make my luck and my faith in my Lord increase every day.” Many people wear a medal.
Native American Indians believed that at night the air was filled with dreams, both good and bad. They made 'Dream Catchers' to protect sleepers, especially children, from bad dreams, nightmares and evil spirits.
A key is one of the oldest lucky charms. A key given from one lover to another is considered to be a symbol of unlocking the door to the person’s heart. The person giving the key is said to be “lucky in love”.
A shooting star is said to possess a certain type of magic, one that grants you good luck and positive energy flow in your life. Legend also says that anyone who is lucky enough to witness a shooting star should make a wish!
Cornish Pisky - Not so long ago almost every Cornish household had some kind of Pisky charm to attract the luck that the good will of the Piskies was thought to bring. They are said to be a mischievous fairy.
Rainbow - A Leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The mistletoe tradition blossomed first among English servants and eventually expanding to the middle class. The basis of the mistletoe tradition was that men were allowed to kiss any woman seen underneath mistletoe and refusal to accept was considered bad luck.
Who has kissed the 'Blarney Stone'?
Who wore something old, new, borrowed & blue on their wedding day?
Who gives coal at New Year?
Who wears a St Christopher medal?
Who has a Dream Catcher above their bed?
Who gave a Key To Your Heart to their beloved?
Who makes a wish when they see a shooting star?
Who has a Cornish Pisky at home?
Who looks for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
Who likes to kiss under the Mistletoe at Christmas?
song break - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbCH5lnZ6sA
Who reads their horoscope?
What star sign are people?
See if you can identify the '12 Signs Of The Zodiac'?
Time to read out some horoscopes?
Round 4. Fears & Phobias
Identify the movie or TV programme about the fear or phobia ...
Fear of snakes - Ophidiophobia
Fear of flying - Aerophobia
Fear of Friday 13th - Triskaidekaphobia
Fear of spiders - Arachnophobia
Fear of heights - Acrophobia
Fear of rats - Musophobia
Fear of enclosed spaces - Claustrophobia
Fear of birds - Ornithopbia
Fear of sharp objects - Aichmophobia
Fear of needles - Trypanophobia
'Raiders Of The Lost Ark', 1981 (Harrison Ford)
'Airplane', 1980 ("Don't call me Shirley!")
'Friday The 13th', 1980 (Jason)
'Arachnophobia', 1990 (Jeff Daniels)
'Vertigo', 1958 (James Stewart)
'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' (Paul Burrell)
'Misery', 1990 (Kathy Bates & James Caan)
'Birds', 1963 (Tippi Hedrun)
'Jurassic Park', 1993 (Tyrannosaurus rex)
'Carry On Doctor', 1967 (Kenneth Williams & Frankie Howard)
Anyone have any other fears or phobias?
song break - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAEppFUWLfc
What is a fear of darkness called?
final song ...
'Superstition', Stevie Wonder - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXsxvdF481I Factoid: Stevie Wonder's song 'Superstition' was declared Motown’s biggest song of the millennium in 2019, with 1.1 million charts sales, made up of 460,000 downloads and 65 million audio streams.
With all of the above, we asked if anyone had any other superstitions or fears and phobias that they could add to the list.
You could finish with a cuppa and some Chinese fortune cookies ...
"Have a nice day x"