Here at High Point Events, we don’t go in much for friggatriskaidekaphobia.* With Friday the 13th approaching rapidly, however, it does seem a fine time to consider some superstitions about food. For instance:
- If you spill salt, do you always throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder to ward off evil, because that’s where the Devil sits?
- If you crack an egg and find a double yolk, do you consider yourself lucky? Similarly if you find nine peas in a pod?
- Do you take home a piece of cake from the wedding and sleep with it under your pillow so that you dream of the person you’ll marry?
- Do you eat black eyed peas every New Year’s day to bring luck and fortune in the coming year?
- Did you throw rice at weddings to ensure the couple much prosperity and many progeny?
- Have you stuffed fennel in all the keyholes in your house to protect against witches?
The United States is not the only country with superstitions about food. The Internet abounds with lists of international superstitions, at least some of which might be accurate.
- In Mexico, dropping a tortilla on the floor is one way to ensure good luck…and lots of visitors.
- Palestinians believe that, if you eat cherries with the seeds in, you’ll get appendicitis. (Presumably, that’s even if you don’t eat the pit!)
- Panamanians never, ever eat watermelon if there’s any liquor nearby. Even bringing the two near one another causes spasms.
- If an Austrian gets a cold, the surefire cure is to eat raw sliced garlic mixed with yogurt. And in case an Austrian gets carpal tunnel syndrome, perhaps from slicing all that garlic, the cure is to soak the aching wrist in Topfen (the Austrian equivalent of cottage cheese).
- In China, it’s serious bad luck to transfer food directly from one set of chopsticks to another set. (Kind of like in Spain, where you never hand someone a salt shaker directly but put it on the table for the other person to pick up.)
- Indonesia has several food-related superstitions. For instance, children who want to travel overseas someday should eat lots of chicken wings. Someone who eats rice from a small plate causes relatives to spurn him/her. And finally, someone who chews gum at night…that one is probably best left to the imagination.
That stuffed fennel doesn’t look so crazy now, huh?
*In case you don’t have easy access to the OED [Oxford English Dictionary], that means “fear of Friday the 13th.”