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Bellatrix's avatar

What sort of folklore magic do people practice where you are, in your culture or did/do your family practice?

Asked by Bellatrix (21257points) December 31st, 2011
22 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

For instance, when I was young my parents always followed the Scottish tradition that on New Year’s Eve someone with dark hair had to bring a piece of coal into the house. The coal was supposed to bring good luck and the dark hair relates to Viking invasions (mostly blonde haired people) that were definitely not good luck.

I was also watching a television programme about early Australian settlers (through to the 1930s) putting shoes and personal objects around the outside of their homes to distract bad spirits.

So what magic folk law are you aware of from your culture, family or local area?

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, round these parts some people put up magic signs to ward off evil spirits. They write, things like “GOT GUNS? I DO!!’’ on the signs. Saw one yard today that was nasty. Dude had magic signs all OVER the place that said things like, “Fire Congress. ALL of ‘em!” and “Come on up if you wanna git shot! It’s an ancient type of old red-neck magic. Works pretty good from what I can tell.

Charles's avatar

Bringing salt and pepper into a new home. (I don’t do it but the old timers supposedly did.)

MilkyWay's avatar

My mum thinks that whenever we (me or my siblings) or anyone else for that matter, get sick, it’s means that someone has given them the evil eye.
(Rolls eyes)
So, she puts coal powder ( you know, the black stuff, don’t know what it’s called) on our cheeks and around our eyes… says it wards it off.
I don’t get it, but then, I don’t believe in all that stuff.

MilkyWay's avatar

Yes, really. Now you know what I have to put up with. And this is just one of her many silly superstitious beliefs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Where was she raised?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hey @Bellatrix I quickly answered this question even though I don’t have an answer, just to make you feel good, so now you go answer the two I just asked! GO!!

Bellatrix's avatar

I answered one about the fact that I feel more well than good :D

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. I just realized that! I guess I could put that on my duh-her question!

Kardamom's avatar

My grandmother used to serve black eyed peas on Christmas. I’ve heard that it is a southern tradition to serve them on New Year’s day, but we always had them on Christmas and there was no explanation other than that’s what we always did.

Bellatrix's avatar

Apparently (@Lingua just explained to me in chat where you ladies should be wishing everyone who comes in Happy New Year), that the black eyed peas and collards are related to good luck too. I don’t know if we even have black eyed peas or collards in Australia!

Kardamom's avatar

@Bellatrix sometimes black eyed peas are called crowder peas. By themselves they’re not very tasty, kind of bland and a little bit mealy, but I’ve had them in Indian food where they’ve tasted divine. They look pretty cute though, See

SmashTheState's avatar

In our family, if someone spilled the salt shaker, we always threw salt over our left shoulder (to drive away the Devil, whom one invited by spilling the salt). We also turned the pillowcases so the openings face away from the door, as this is supposed to block evil spirits from entering.

wilma's avatar

My grandma would never let me use the same broom to sweep inside the house, that she used outside on the porch and sidewalk. The outside broom was never brought inside. Something about bad luck or bad spirits.

My other grandma always told me to never watch someone until they were out of sight. Like when relatives who were visiting would drive away in their car, she would look away before the car drove out of sight.

rooeytoo's avatar

I lived amongst the aboriginal people of Australia for 6 years. Despite the fact that most are now driving land cruisers many still have primitive beliefs. Such as females are not allowed to touch a didgeridoo because they will become pregnant if they do, or some say will die. One little girl had possoms for her dreaming, she killed a possom baby and then she got a bald spot in the front of her head so the elders decided it was because she had tampered with her dreaming. I personally thought it had more to do with the rampant case of scabies she had at the moment but the elders would not buy that theory. The list goes on and on.

ragingloli's avatar

Not my family, but a lot of people here “pray” to some sort of “god” regularly and go to an occult magic circle they call “church”.
Completely crazy, I tell you!

Berserker's avatar

I was also watching a television programme about early Australian settlers (through to the 1930s) putting shoes and personal objects around the outside of their homes to distract bad spirits.

That’s interesting. Sounds like Celtic beliefs, where people would let out small bowls of milk and other treats at night, for fairies and brownies. In return, they’d clean the house or fix whatever problem was going on with the place. Some people left out little clothes, but this apparently angered the small beings, who left and never returned, and sometimes even cursed the whole household.

Nothing much here though, that I know of. I meet some Wiccans and we got this urban legend about Voodoo around here, but I don’t know of any actual practice being done by anyone.

flutherother's avatar

When I was younger ‘first footing’ was common in Scotland. People would visit friends, relatives and neighbours after ‘the bells’ at midnight bringing a present, which was often a lump of coal for the fire. No one was ever turned away, they were all invited in to join the party which consisted of drink, food and Scottish accordion music played on a gramophone. It was a great custom that bound communities together and it is a pity it is dying out. It was good luck for your first visitor of the New Year to be tall dark and handsome, which wasn’t always the case. The New Year celebrations were the big social event of the year in Scotland, far more important than Christmas, though this has changed even in my lifetime.

Another custom was to plant a rowan tree by the door to ward off evil spirits. It didn’t always work and if you tour the Highlands of Scotland today you will see many an abandoned cottage with a rowan tree still flourishing among the ruins its red berries shining in the sun.

MilkyWay's avatar

Btw, Celebrating Halloween is a folklore/magic thing the majority of us celebrate… it was a pagan custom to leave food at your doorstep at night on the night of the harvest moon for eveil spirits. If you didn’t then the spirits would be angry and curse you or something.
@Dutchess_III She was raised in Pakistan.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MilkyWay Thanks. I was really curious!

deedee18's avatar

-YOu walk into your house backwards,because to make sure that any eveil spirits did not follow you home.
-You sleep with black under inside out so that evil spirits would not have sex with you when you sleep.
– you cleanse your house with smoke with a mixture of herbs,( the list is to long and i cannot spell the meither because i don’t know the english for them.)
-When you cut your hair, you should never dispose of it in the rubbish bin, instead you should burn it so that evil people would not use it to do voodoo on you.

deedee18's avatar

YOu should cut your hair on a full moon.
– IF you are magotay, that is if you have an extra finger, toe, etc, then evil spirits cannot do you no harm. that is why many parents do not cut off their children’s extra finger.
-My mother used to bath me in a misxture of special herbs to keep evil spirist away from me so that i would continue to do well in school. seems to me that she was making soup. It was the leaves of some tree they call Gloricider, garlic and some other nasty stuff.
– Oh only animals could see evil spirist so if your dog or cat is acting strange then there is an evil presence around
– We have the people that people who are tryna do you harm could transform into little creature. So for instance i had this great grand aunt who was like a healer through using herbs. and basically, she took ill suddenly and died. she got something that made her skin fall off. she was accused of being a witch because another great grand aut of mine in the village said the reason she died because she tried to attack her in the form of a frog. So alot of people would throw salt on frogs and i gues their skin start to burn nd hey died. And they believe that the next morning the itdentity of the witch would appear dead somehwere.
– people would also believe that different colours and incense mean different things. So, people would for instance if they wanted money would buy green candle and write your request on the candle itself and a piece of paper, you rub a special oil on the prayer or requesst on the cacle, then you light it and place it in a special place, with the prayer or request under the candle

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