Thursday, June 10, 2004

Italian Superstitions

I am not sure if anybody knows about Italian superstitions, but they can be quite interesting, as well as odd at the same time. Coming from an Italian family, I grew up constantly hearing these superstitions. First off, let me explain some of the things that are considered to be good luck and bad luck. Birds in the household are considered bad luck, and certain types of feathers are considered bad luck as well. If one hears a cat sneeze, then it is considered to be good luck. The strangest one is the idea that nuns are considered to be bad luck, and if you pass one, then you must touch iron, not wood, but a piece of iron. Also, if you pass a nun, instead of touching iron you could say to the first person that passes you, "your nun," so the bad luck is passed on to them.
The largest Italian superstition is the maloccio. The maloccio means the dreaded evil eye, which luckily there are ways to ward off the evil spirits that the evil eye brings. First, you could make the hand signal to protect you, which is extending the index and pinky fingers up, or one could wear the "corno," which is a horn shaped object, that is usually hung around the neck. But the question is, how does one get the evil eye? Well, it could be anything, from a dirty look, to a compliment. Also, how does one know if the "corno" or the hand signal worked? The answer to that is there is a test that one could do. The test is taking a bowl of hot water and placing a drop of olive oil in the center, if it stays in a droplet, then you fine, but if the oil separates, then it did not work.


Anonymous Giovanni said...

the nun is considered bad luck because nuns are affiliated mainly with 2 places you wouldnt want to be: a hospital and a cemetary.

also, to ward off the malocchio (not maloccio), you point the pinkie and index fingers downward, upward is an insult meaning your wife/husband is unfaithful

birds are considered unlucky because, in the bible, Peter denounced Jesus 3 times before the cock (bird) crowed.

I'm not sure if you've heard this one, but i certainly have: 17 is unlucky. this is due to the fact that 17, written in roman numerals, is XVII. rearraging those symbols spells VIXI, latin for "i lived." VIXI was commonly inscribed on tombstones

12:32 PM  

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