Superstitions stem from rooted cultural histories

Friday the 13th has always been deemed a holiday for the superstitious. This Friday, FAMU students and professors try to decipher where many of the superstitions from black culture originated.

By definition, superstition is the irrational belief that future events are influenced by specific behaviors, without having a causal relationship.

Derek A. Williams, a FAMU professor of African-American history said, “In an absence of control, superstition serves as a way to keep people in place.”

Williams also stated that superstition is one of those governing bodies that is not written as law, but they control how we act.

Katherine Orphanidys, 23, said, “Superstition is a belief in a entity or for some karma is a superstition.”

There is no real focal point in which superstition originated, but for blacks, it dates back to Africa and the superstition stayed with the culture.

Williams explained that with superstition, there is no scientific weight, it is just thought that something is not moving in your favor.

“Old superstition says if a woman has a baby who has malaria, and then it is believed that someone or something doesn’t like her,” Williams said.

For younger generation superstition is more ritualistic than anything. Isaiah Maki, 18, a freshman engineering student from Lansing, Mich., said, “Before any sporting event, I do the same systematic thing every time.” He added, “If I have to eat the same foods before every event then I will do that.”

No one person can say if superstitions are true or not, because superstitions are just what they are made to be, beliefs. Orphanidys said, “I’m Greek and it was something that I learned by reading and stories told.” She added, “There was an old superstition called the evil eye, which protects you from bad karma and thoughts.”

There is a myriad of superstitions that people live by, but some are more recognizable than others. Williams said, “The one superstition that sticks in my mind is ‘splitting the pole’.”

For others the common superstitions are walking under a ladder and you receive bad luck, or break a mirror and receive seven years of bad luck.

Other superstitions include:

•When you get a haircut, burn the hair or the birds will pick at it and you’ll go crazy.

•Eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day mean prosperity.

•If a bird flies in your house it means someone will die.

•Close the door if the wind blows it open or an evil spirit will come in.

•Sprinkle pepper around your house to ward off bad spirits.

• If it’s raining when the sun is out the devil is beating his wife.

•Turn the TV and radio off when it’s raining.

•If you talk about a bad dream before breakfast it will come true.

•Throw salt over your shoulder for good luck.