When it comes to love, most people — especially the female gender — believe they need a little luck, whether it’s Valentine day or any other day of the year. The superstitions created around dating, love and marriage are plenty and while many of them sound downright crazy, some have become part of many couples’ pre-wedding and wedding rituals.
Some have meaning and some seem to have sprung out of nowhere. Still, all of them are fun to read — especially for those who believe they need a little “magic” in their lives.
Looking for love
Girls who are seeking to know who they will marry they should get into bird watching. Grab those binoculars: It’s said that if a woman sees a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it means she will marry a sailor; if she sees a sparrow, she will marry a poor man and be very happy; if she sees a goldfinch, she will marry a millionaire. For those who are hoping to see the last: it migrates to the Southern states, including Florida, in the winter so you may be in luck.
Another superstition tells us that if someone is sweeping the floor and sweeps over your feet, you’ll never get married, so you might want to consider helping with the chores instead of just standing there. If you happen to be a knitter or a quilter, you should know that it is unlucky not to finish making a quilt or blanket once started — again: the superstition is that you will never marry. Although there’s no historical proof to this, one can only assume that this last one was invented by mothers who were trying to motivate their teenager daughters to finish their work, perhaps a more effective equivalent of the modern “For once in your life, will you finish something you’ve started?”
Before you tie the knot
So what about those who are planning a wedding? Most superstitions are regarded as “silly old wives’ tales,” but it’s a rare bride that doesn’t follow at least some of them “just to be on the safe side.” The most common, a tradition that is popular in many Western countries, dictates the bride should wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on her wedding day.
“Something old” is worn to make sure that the couple’s past — their friends — will stay with them for the rest of their life. ”Something new” is a good omen for a future for health, happiness and success. “Something borrowed’ is a token of love given to the bride from her family, and “something blue” is important because since ancient times blue has symbolized fidelity and constancy.
There’s more —from the color of the wedding dress to the month during which couples tie the knot — that, according to superstitions, should be kept in mind by future brides.
Until Victorian times brides didn’t buy a special dress for their wedding day and opted to wear their best “Sunday dress.” The use of white wedding dress was made popular by Queen Victoria, who broke the tradition of royals marrying in silver. Symbolizing purity and virginity, white was also thought to ward off evil spirits.
Brides would not wear green, as it was considered to be unlucky. The reason wasn’t as silly as one might imagine. To say a girl had “a green gown” implied that she was of loose morals — her clothes being grass-stained due to rolling around in the fields. As for the other colors, they might just have been assigned to something that rhymes. But why push your luck? The British Web site www.weddings.co.uk/info/tradsup.htm will spell it all out for you:
Married in white, you will have chosen right.
Married in grey, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in red, you wish yourself dead.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in pearl, you will live in a whirl.
Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.
Married in brown, you will live out of town.
Married in pink, your fortune will sink.
The time of the year of a couple’s upcoming nuptials is also believed to influence their future happiness. In Victorian times May weddings were frowned upon — and in some cases banned — because the Lemuria feast of the dead during Roman times and the Pagan ritual of Beltane outdoor orgies both used to take place during the month of May. Hardly the stuff dream wedding days are made of.
Lent is also considered a bad time to get married, as it is a time for abstinence, and in Catholic countries such as Spain and Italy many priests will refuse to celebrate weddings during the 40 days prior to Easter. But there are plenty of other months, according the www.weddings.co.uk that are supposed to bring luck to the new couple:
Marry when the year is new, he will be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you will know.
Marry in April if you can, joy for maiden and for man.
Marry in the month of May, you will surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow and over land and sea you will go.
Those who in July do wed must labor for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see.
Marry in September’s shrine so that your life is rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry, and your love will last.
For the big day
After the wedding date and the dress have been picked, there are more superstitions the bride and bridegroom could keep in mind to avoid bringing bad luck to their union. As she leaves her home on the way to the wedding, the bride should step over the threshhold with her right foot. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise since we commonly use the expression “starting off on the right foot” when we are talking about a good beginning.
Walking to church is said to be the best way to get to the wedding because of the chance of bumping into good omens and lucky signs. Although in Southwest Florida it might be hard to come by one, the old belief says it is good luck to see a chimney sweep on the way to church. Seeing a rainbow, an easier occurrence around here, is also considered lucky.
But beware of monks or nuns, as they foretell barrenness and a life dependant on charity.
After the ceremony, you still aren’t off the hook of superstition. Friends and family throwing rice at the happy couple are wishing them fertility by transferring Mother Earth’s prosperity onto the bride and bridegroom. Tradition also dictates the new wife must enter her home by the main door and, to avoid bad luck, must never trip or fall — hence the custom that a bride should be carried over the threshold.
There’s a practical side to that. After all, who wants to spend their wedding night at the E.R.?