05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Pinch of Salt?

Have you ever taken a pinch of spilled salt in your right hand and thrown it backwards over your left shoulder?  Ever wonder why this superstition exists?

I have wondered.  I was told by a friend many years ago to do this to avoid bad luck.  She was very adamant that if salt was spilled, it had to be thrown over the left shoulder to prevent more bad luck.  She couldn’t tell me how the superstition came about.  And I never inquired further.

After a little internet research, this is what I found out.pic of spilling  - Salt written on spilled salt image vignetted  Salt written on spilled salt - JPG

Superstition has it that, at all times, a devil waits over your left shoulder, just waiting to pull you from the path of good intentions.  An angel sits over your right shoulder.  
picture of devil  - 3D angel and devil  - JPG
Spilling salt is bad luck (perhaps because it used to be rare and precious). Hence, you can diminish your bad luck by throwing salt into the eyes of the devil.  Thus blinding the devil and giving you a chance to correct any mistakes.

It is also thought that your guardian angel (who can be found over your right shoulder) spills salt to warn of evil close by.  Therefore you either throw the salt to hurt the devil or, since salt was at one time very valuable, you throw it to appease the devil.
I had never heard this explanation before.  You can be sure, the next time I spill salt a pinch of it is getting thrown in the devil’s eyes.  I don’t want any more bad luck!

What’s a superstition you’ve heard but don’t know the story behind it?


Paty Jager said...

Thanks Diana! I've always wondered about that superstition. Many. Don't walk under a ladder. You have bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. I've never wondered at where they came from.

Judith Ashley said...

Never knew the story behind the pinch of salt superstition but I had heard of the devil and angel sitting on your shoulders - so, in that context it makes sense.

I'm not one to wonder much about the stories behind superstitions. I accept there is one and that given the times it made sense and wasn't really thought of as 'superstition' but more like 'reality'.

Thanks for doing that research for us, Diana. There really are fascinating stories out there if we take the time to look them up.

Sarah Raplee said...

Fun post, Diana!

I wonder where the belief that 'knocking on wood' would prevent bad luck coming related to what a person has just said comes from. I bet that's an interesting story!

Jessa Slade said...

When you think of what a good job salt does of preserving food that would otherwise go "bad", it makes sense that people would think it had such powers.

I've always wondered about four-leaf clovers being lucky. Why would a mutant plant be lucky?

Diana Mcc. said...

Hi, Paty, thanks for stopping by. I really like researching .
Hi, Judith, thanks for commenting.

Hi, Sarah, me too! I'd like to know about knocking on wood, perhaps I'll look it up later.

Thanks for stopping by, Jessa. Four leaf clovers, wow, I'd like to know that, maybe because of their rarity they are considered lucky?