As it’s Friday 13th I thought it would be interesting to revisit the subject of superstitions and the differences and similarities between superstitions in France and the UK.
Are you very superstitious? I like to think that I’m not really but, nevertheless, find myself walking around ladders, saluting magpies, and uncrossing knives; much to the amusement of my family! However, this got me thinking again about the differences between superstitions in France and the UK. I am fascinated by cultural similarities and differences, in general. I am already aware of several superstitions from France but my research has helped me to discover even more!
If a bird defecates on you, in the UK, this is considered good luck! However, the French believe that it is stepping in dog poop that will bring you good luck – as long as it is with your left foot! With the amount of dog poop that I see around in France, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get lucky!
Hanging a horse shoe outside your door can bring you luck in France, if hung in the French way. This means hanging the shoe upside down – well, not as far as the UK is concerned! We believe that all the luck will drain out, if the shoe is inverted.However, for the French the luck will pour down on you!
Superstitions about black cats vary a lot, depending on what you read and where you happen to be. Black cats are traditionally supposed to be the familiars of witches and if one crosses your path, in France, this brings bad luck. In the UK, it’s good luck when this occurs because the black cat hasn’t noticed you!
I was very surprised to learn that, in France, if a pregnant woman sees an owl, the child will be a girl.
The number thirteen has always been lucky for me but generally it is perceived as unlucky in the UK. However, the French will stock up on lottery tickets on Friday the 13th but also believe that having thirteen people around a dinner table is very bad luck indeed.
There are many more aspects of superstitions I could write about and I would be very interested to know if you are superstitious and particularly about any other French superstitions that you may know.
Must hurry; I’ve just knocked over the salt cellar and need to throw some salt, over my left shoulder, into the eye of the devil…and I must remember not to put my new shoes that have just been delivered on the table!
In the meantime, here’s a clip about French superstitions – ironing my husband’s underpants? I don’t think so. I’ve got far more interesting things to be getting on with..!