Welcome to another pick of our Session’s Highlights. Today we will be looking at some of the tweets you shared for yesterday’s theme on Weekdays & Months.
We’re starting with this English folk rhyme shared by Sarah Mint, about the best day of the week to get married – which according to these verses, appears to be Wednesday, with Monday and Tuesday as possible runner-ups. Marriage was considered an important moment in the lives of our ancestors (perhaps not so much today), and as such it makes up a sort of triad of the most superstitious themes out there – the other two would probably be births and death. Being avid collectors of folklore, the Victorians are credited with the dissemination of some of the most popular wedding superstitions we still repeat today, such as the well-known advice to wear “Something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new” – found, for instance, in this article aptly titled ‘Marriage Superstitions And The Misery Of The Bride Elect’ published around 1871 in The St James’s Magazine, and available here.
Being this a theme of Weekdays & Months, I thought of sharing another rhyme I found about the best month to be married, featured in a book from 1920 called ‘Kentucky Superstitions’ that’s available here.
“January, always poor.
February, wed once more.
March, splendid catch.
April, happy match.
May, turn to hate.
June, enviable fate.
July, poorly mated.
August, better have waited.
September, very wealthy.
October, extremely healthy.
November, quick undoing.
December, Cupid’s wooing”
Our second Highlight was another weekday adage, as shared by Willow Winsham – this time about lucky signs of sneezing on the various days of the week. Unlike the wedding rhyme above, it seems that Saturdays are the best days to sneeze there – neck to neck with Thursdays I’d say, although the rhyme isn’t very specific on what “something better” means.
Still in regard to sneezing, saying “bless you” or another regional variant such as the Portuguese “santinho” (meaning little saint) is one of those really, really curious rituals that everyone carries on repeating even though they might dismiss superstitions. But sneezing salutations are so old and common that they can be traced back as far as Ancient Rome, when Pliny the Elder asked himself in Volume XXVIII Chapter 5 of his Natural History compendium: “Why is it that we salute a person when he sneezes, an observance which Tiberius Cæsar, they say, the most unsociable of men, as we all know, used to exact, when riding in his chariot even?” Our pal Tiberius was lucky – these days it’s extremely difficult to sneeze in cars much faster than a chariot!
Our last Session Highlight was shared by Hecaterine, with a weather prediction for the coming month of July. According to the 1881 publication Domestic Folk-lore (available to read for free here, via Wellcome Collection), you should “never trust a July sky”, presumably because Summer storms can quickly turn nasty with thunder and lightning. A children’s sing-song also shared by Hecaterine says that you can wish the rain away for “another Summer’s day”. In the event, Willow Winsham (featured above) added in the comments of this tweet that there is another version that goes “Rain, rain go away, come again another day”. Nineties kids might recognise it from the intro of the beloved Peter Rabbit live-action/animation filmed in Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top, minute 1:08 here.
And that is all for today, I hope you enjoyed this selection of superstitions. Next Saturday (25/06) we’ll be teaming up with some of our Folklore Friends, Mythology Monday and Fairy Tale Tuesday, for a week of Solstice fun, with beliefs and rituals related to
SUMMER AND SOLSTICE
As always, whether you’re old, new or just passing through, your presence is very much appreciated and I am glad to see you stop by. See you next Saturday!
– Superstition Sam 🐾