When asked what crazy superstitions South Africans believed as children, it became glaringly clear that the ridiculous beliefs were palmed off onto kids by parents to make them more manageable in dangerous situations, and in some cases, to make a fool of them.
Other superstitions have been passed down through generations and are now so believable, it is impossible to break the stereotypes created because of them. The black cat and a bat is known as creatures of bad luck and they can’t shake this uninformed superstition – as has the ladder, the mirror and salt.
Psychologists looked into the role these beliefs play and have concluded that they come from the assumption that there is a link between co-occurring, non-related events. A good example is the notion that charms promote good luck, and protect you against bad luck.
We asked our readers about their childhood superstitions, this is what they said:
- When the ice cream truck music plays, it means they out of ice cream.
- There were sharks in the deep end of the public swimming pool.
- If I changed my seat while watching Rugby that my team will perform better.
- If we didn’t switch off the geyser before leaving the house, the house will explode!
- If I pee’d in the pool, the water would turn dark blue.
- If we did not finish our food, Antjie Somers would kidnap us and take us to “Die Kliphuis”, where all the naughty kids go. Everything is made out of stone… including the pillows of the beds!
- If I didn’t wash my ears …potatoes would grow out of them!
- Don’t cut your nails on a Friday it is bad luck!
- You must be asleep by 10pm or the 10 o’clock horse’s will get you.
- I’m gonna get shocked if I shower while it’s raining.
- Swallowing a fruit pip would make a fruit tree grow inside me.
- Bad luck if a black cat walks in your path.
- My gran told me that hadidas scream when they fly because they are scared of heights.
- If a frog or turtle pees on you, you will get warts.
- If i leave my closet open the boogie man will come out of it while i sleep.
- If you pulled a face and the wind changed your face would stay like it!
- That eating more than a few cuts of biltong would give you worms!
- If you take the last treat on the plate – you will never get married.
- Walking under a ladder gives bad luck.
- If we whistled at night, a snake would bite us.
- If your nose is itchy you have to give everyone around you a handshake or else a fight would start.
- That jumping off the roof with an umbrella was possible and you would not hurt yourself.
- To put sugar on the windowsill to make the stork bring you a brother!
- My mom told us that whiskey was made from crushed beetles, I never tried to sneak a sip after.
- If you play with matches you will wet your bed.
- Kidnappers drove black cars – whenever we saw a black car we ran into the house.
- Never sleep under the bed you represent death. Boom i went to boarding school where we had double bank beds.
- If you eat from the pot it will rain the day you get married.
- If I watch too much TV my head will be square.
- If you sit on a table you will never find a husband.
- If you go outside with wet hair you will catch a cold.
- That a (red) birthmark is caused by spilling red wine on yourself when pregnant!
- It’s good luck to get pooped on by a bird.
- That the Tokoloshe would get me if I misbehaved.