Superstitions – Knives and Other Random Objects

Yesterday I was in a work meting that included lunch. After we finished eating I picked up a plate left on the working table to move it to the serving area.  As I did this a piece of cutlery fell on the floor.

I was about to move when one of my colleagues anxiously asked me if it had been the knife that had fallen. I replied yes and was taken aback when she told me I couldn’t pick it up.  Assuming her concern was over safety, I thought her reaction was sweet but a little over the top and puzzled as to why she thought I couldn’t pick up the knife safely.

I glanced at the knife, which looked perfectly harmless lying there on the floor. Before I could say or do anything else, she repeated I couldn’t pick it up, that someone else had to do it.  I was wondering what she was going on about, when another colleague quickly got up and picked the knife up.

Seeing my confused expression, they explained that as I was the one who had dropped the knife it was bad luck for me to pick it up.  I thought they were joking but they were really serious about this.

We went on to discuss other superstitions like opening umbrellas indoors or spilling salt.  Almost everyone in the room believed in at least one myth.  One of the guys said he didn’t but that he wouldn’t walk under ladders.  When I asked him why, he said ‘it’s bad luck’!

My colleagues seemed  as surprised that I didn’t believe in any superstitions (surely there are some in your country too) as I was about them believing them so strongly.  They said that even though they know it is irrational, this is so ingrained in their psyche that they can’t help acting on it.

My crossed knives

This morning as I was preparing breakfast I noticed that I had two knives laying crossed over each other, which signifies bad luck in my country. No, I didn’t quickly uncross them but the thought was definitely there.   This made me realize that although I do not believe or act on the superstitions I grew up with, they are nonetheless etched in my brain too.


I would love to know your views – do you feel compelled to act on the superstitions you know or do you ignore them?

11 thoughts on “Superstitions – Knives and Other Random Objects

  1. They certainly pop into my head when I come across something like a black cat crossing my path, but I tend not to act on them too much. I don’t walk under ladders usually coz I freak out that it would fall on me!

    I’m a hospitality temp at the moment and this time last year my weeks were busy with spring weddings – this year there’s nothing. It was only when another colleague suggested that people probably don’t want to marry in 2013 that it even crossed my mind!

  2. It all stems from the human tendency to blame. if only … is a common regret opening statement. Our obsession with predictions of the future are also based on this innate thirst to blame. We can’t accept life with all its serendipity, it’s always a conspiracy or bad luck! nice post

  3. Yes, we also have some superstitious beliefs around here. Mirrors, example. My bed doesn’t face my wall mirror. It’s believed that ghosts are most likely to be seen if I should wake up suddenly at night. Well, I no longer believe in it or an other superstitions here (because we have a bunch of them), but this one in particular has been ingrained in my psyche I just can seem to shake it off. Someone once told me–better take the advice than have regret knocking on your door.

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