Superstitions and old wives tales were usually passed down from generations from old wives. They like an urban legend  that to this day we still use in some shape or form. One of the most common tales told to young children “if you don’t eat your carrots you won’t be able to see in the dark”. Many tales have been proved to not be true, and many still are believed to have some truth somewhere in them. “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” Maybe this saying was to encourage children to eat more vegetables and fruit giving them a better and nutritious diet, which would help prevent them from sickness.

“Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever” I have always found some truth in this saying. Some viruses you need to starve because you can’t hold food down anyway. With colds you need to dose up on liquids and food. I always thought my Nan could of wrote a book on old wives tales,.She was brought up believing many and she used to say many to my sister and I growing up. Some we would laugh at when she would say them and some she took very serious so we tried our best not to. Even in the last years of my nans life when she came to live with us she had Alzheimer’s, occasionally she will come out with the odd saying. One of her famous sayings she used to say especially when I whistled, which she seemed to dislike.“A whistling woman and crowing hen neither fit for neither God nor Men.” I looked up the meaning because I never actually understood what she meant. It means that these are traditionally considered unnatural and improper activities for females, and that females who perform them are unnatural and ill-omened. The earliest recorded version of this proverb is Scottish, and dates from 1721: “A crooning cow, a crowing Hen and a whistling Maid boded never luck to a house” (“Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs, Explained and made Intelligible to the English
Reader”, by J Kelly.)

Other Old Fashioned superstitions The ‘crowning glory’ is one of the most indestructible
parts of the body. As such, a sudden loss of hair is unlucky, forecasting a decline in health, loss of
property or failure in business, or the death of a closely related child. Red hair is associated with fiery tempered
people (e.g. Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I); black and dark brown hair indicates strength; fair
hair implies timidity. On a man, if the hair grows low on the forehead and back above the temples he will have a
long life; if a woman’s hair grows in a low point on her forehead (‘widow’s peak’) she will outlive her husband.
If a woman suddenly develops curls on her forehead her man has not long to live.

Cheryl Davis

Cheryl Davis

I am passionate about family history and history in general. Feel free to read my articles and if you are starting out, have hit a brick wall, looking at a particular type of record or need any advice please feel free to contact.
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