Happy Sunday, all! We return for another pick of our #SuperstitionSat Sessions’ Highlights. Yesterday (09/04/22), you were invited to party business! Together, we celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of Superstition Saturday, which was founded in April 2020. While I was posting a new in-house article on the superstitions of Birth, Birthdays & Children on our Blog – you shared your sayings, beliefs and rituals about the same theme on Twitter.
Our first Highlight was from Autotelic_tales, who told us about past customs of not naming babies until after they were born – sometimes even after their birth, before they had a chance to be baptised. Besides the influence of infant mortality rates prior to the 19th century, some folks also looked at it from a superstitious perspective. Some believed that naming a child before their christening might put young’uns at risk of being taken away by fairies and swapped with a changeling. Thus, in order to avoid attracting the attention of the fair folk, parents might have referred to the bairns as “pot lid” or “jack in the cellar”. An academic reference to this superstition may be found on the Journal of Ethnological Studies Volume 37, but sadly, public access is not available which makes me very sad!
Our second Highlight was from Sarah Brown who told us about caudle: a warm gruel made of oatmeal, water and spices mixed with a bit of alcohol such as ale, wine or gin. It might have been given to mothers to strengthen them ahead or after childbirth. The word caudle comes from the Latin caldus, meaning warm. In Romance languages today, such as Portuguese, caldo is a hot broth. Another word which has derived from caldus is cauldron. I thought this was a great Highlight, because it reminded me of the good old custom of making a soup (for instance, chicken soup) when we’re ill. Hmm, soup.
Our last Highlight was from Julie from Forgotten Beauty, who shared a belief about babies born with their cauls intact. The caul is the amniotic sac which protects the baby within the womb. To be born with an unbroken caul was said to bring good luck to the child, as well as giving them the gift of second sight and protecting them from drowning at sea. For more about the caul, listen to this clip from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall for their favourite Five Objects project in the early days of lockdown. Today, I also published the updated Calendar of #SuperstitionSat Session themes for the next quarter – so I thought that this tidbit shared by Julie is likely to make an appearence in our Fish, Fishing & Seafaring theme later in the year. We’ll see! To check out our newly updated list of themes, click here.
That was all for today. I hope you had fun on our Anniversary Party. If you have been with us since 2020, you have my deepest gratitude. But whether you’re old, new or just passing through, your presence is very much appreciated and I am glad to see you stop by. Looking forward to being with you again next week (16/04/22) with superstitions of
EASTER, PASSOVER & OTHER SEASONAL FESTIVITIES
Have a good one,
– Superstition Sam 🐾