In the past people in general were probably more superstitious than they are now days. Of course there are those who still take them to heart. Take for example the expression “get up on the wrong side of the bed” has become a figure of speech in referring to someone who wakes-up in a grouchy or otherwise unpleasant mood. That expression goes back at least to the 1st century B. C. It is related to the expression of “got up left foot forward.” Such English sayings originated as superstitions. They believe evil is related to the left and therefore would put their right foot forward first. Going further back to Rome in the days of Augustus Caesar many believed that a person would have a good day if they got up on the right side of the bed and not be grouchy or in a foul mood. (Encyclopaedia of Word and Phrase Origins, by Robert Hendrickson).
There are many other silly superstitions such as the following: Some believe that the spilling of salt will bring bad luck on the unfortunate person who accidentally spills it. There is more than one theory of how the superstition that spilling of salt will bring bad luck on the spiller of it. The most plausible one to me is that salt has been considered a desirable spice throughout the history of man. In ancient times it was hard to come by and therefore would not be wasted. With that in mind someone supposedly started a tale that anyone who spilt salt would have bad luck. That superstition claims to avoid the bad luck the guilty party is to throw some of the spilled salt over his left shoulder into the face of the devil.
There are those who would not think of walking under a ladder for fear it would bring them back luck. Sometime in the past there were those who determined that walking under a ladder brought bad luck. Now if someone is working upon a ladder I’ll not walk under it, but that is not because I’m superstitious. I just don’t want anything falling down on me.
Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. Presently he serves as full time evangelist for the Pittsburg Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)