My Nana Was the Queen of New England Wives’ Tales
Are you superstitious? Do you live in fear of some of the old New England wives' tales that have been passed down from generation to generation? If you answered yes, you are not alone. For the sake of clarity, superstitions and wives' tales can be interchangeable terms.
Massachusetts residents tend to be superstitious. Everything from the fear of crossing paths with a black cat, getting off an elevator on the 13th floor, or walking under an open ladder. Remember, don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back!
I think I am superstitious about some things but my wife just calls it being anal-retentive. She may have a point, but I am superstitious at times, too.
Not all superstitions involve bad luck. Potawatomi Hotel and Casino did a study using the Google search engine to research the most common superstitions by state. The most popular superstition in Massachusetts is the four-leaf clover. Finding a four-leaf clover is supposed to bring you good luck.
Growing up with my mother Jenny Margaret "Peggy" Prescott Richard, I learned a lot about wives' tales and superstitions. They were handed down to her by her mother, Frieda Amero, who was born around the beginning of the last century in Nova Scotia. As a girl, she moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts. Between Nova Scotia and New England, Nana had some doozies.
For example, Nana and my mother would flip out if you put new shoes on the table. Rocking a rocking chair with no one in it was inviting the devil to come in and sit down. Nana fervently believed that if a bird flew into your house it meant someone was going to die. Until the day she died, Nana would freak if you gave her a birthday card or anything else that contained an image of a bird.
Both ladies believed that you should always exit a house by the same door you entered, and that if your right palm itched, you were about to meet a stranger. If the left palm itched, you were about to receive unexpected money.
Superstitions can be fun but some folks take them quite seriously. Are you superstitious? Did your grandmothers pass down any old wives' tales or superstitions? Share with us if they did.