Superstitions

I am not, by nature, superstitious. I have no aversion to black cats over other colored cats. I have no fear of Friday the 13th or a full moon. I am not adverse to being on the 13th floor of a building (some buildings don’t have a 13th floor, just as some airplanes don’t have a 13th row.). I’m too lazy to walk extra steps to go around a ladder, so of course, I’ll walk under one. And while I would not look forward to the jagged mess of cleaning up a broken mirror, I don’t fear bad luck from having broken one. As a child, I remember the saying whenever you went for a walk on a sidewalk, of “Step on a crack, you break your mother’s back”! That wasn’t true! (It was an accident!)

On the other hand, I have been known to “knock on wood” at times, I tend to believe that bad luck comes in threes, prefer to win in a wishbone tugging contest (more from my competitive streak than from a bad luck perspective), I’ve crossed my fingers for luck, and if I were lucky enough to find one, I’d keep a 4-leaf clover (for its rarity more than any other reason).

If you grew up in or around the Pennsylvania Dutch area (Lancaster County, PA) or where the Amish gather in Ohio and West Virginia, you learned of what is considered a tradition for New Year’s Day, but the tradition is based on superstition. The tradition is to eat pork and sauerkraut (99.9% of the time with mashed potatoes). It is thought that eating pork and sauerkraut on the first day of the year will bring you luck in that year.

Digging deeper, you begin to understand why this superstition-based tradition made sense. Cabbage, which is green in raw form, is the color of money, so eating sauerkraut, which is nothing more than fermented cabbage, is thought to bring more wealth into your life in the coming year. Pork was chosen because pigs are known to root (or rut) forward with their noses when eating, indicating a desire to make progress forward into the new year. (On the other hand, chickens scratch backwards with their toes, which indicated that they would want to stay connected to the old year.) If you find longer shreds of sauerkraut on your plate when you eat this fare on New Year’s Day, it is said to symbolize longer life. That’s a lot of superstition packed into one meal!

Traditional way to make pork and sauerkraut – cooked together!

I enjoy pork and sauerkraut, so this is one of the ‘comfort’ foods I make when the weather begins to cool for the coming of winter. Because I had done so recently, and had some in the freezer, I decided to have it for my New Year’s Day meal. While the logical side of me 100% believes that having it has not changed my luck for 2021, after 2020, I figured, why not, just in case?

I would expect that different cultures might have different superstitions than those I’ve known all my life. I would LOVE to hear about any other superstitions you may have heard and how you feel about them. Please, feel free to share in the reply section!

3 thoughts on “Superstitions

  1. I really harbor no superstitions, but behavior is a learned thing. Saying “bless you” or “gesundheit” is an archaic superstition that centers around the idea that a sneeze is somehow related to evil spirits leaving the body. I, in no way, subscribe to that theory, yet if someone near me sneezes, I say it with hardly a thought. I subscribe to the idea that I make my own luck, be it good or bad. Plus I don’t need an excuse to eat pork and sauerkraut!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When I moved to PA, my soon to be father in law asked me if we were having pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s dinner. My family tradition was mac and cheese and ham, so I said, “i guessssss????” Then I learned it was lucky and we’ve had it every year. (I prefer the mac and cheese and ham but you go with the flow sometimes!)

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