Have you ever seen grown people do some crazy things and you wonder what drove them to do it and their explanation is that their granny used to say how bad luck would follow them if they did not? Superstitions.
Not the kind that Stevie Wonder sang about, but the garden variety type that leaves normally sensible individuals doing acts all in the name of customs that usually have no logical bearing or reason.
You are not Jamaican if you have not heard or done a few yourself, because sometimes we do them so often it becomes second nature.
The following represent some common ones that you can probably relate to.
- If you point on a grave you haffi (have to) bite all ten fingers and ‘spin u roll’
- Two pregnant women should not walk together, because the second one will have a painful labour and delivery.
- If you are walking home and you feel that a duppy (ghost) is following you, pick up a stone and continue walking. Then pretend that you throw the stone away. The duppy will spend the rest of the night at the spot looking for it.
- If you open an umbrella in a house, you are not going to get married.
- If a person of the opposite sex jumps over you, you will stop growing (‘done grow’).
- If a pregnant woman looks down into a bottle, her baby will be born with one ‘squinty’ eye.
- If a woman has sex with a man other than the father of her baby, the baby will be delayed in walking.
- If a mother cuts her son’s hair before he is one-year-old or starts walking, he will have delayed speech.
- If you throw something outside at night through a window you must say ‘excuse me’ or duppy (ghost) will box you for startling him/her.
- If a husband dies, the widow must wear red panties so that his duppy (ghost) does not try to have intercourse with her.
- If a parent dies leaving an infant, the child must be passed over the coffin so that the deceased recognises him and won’t come back to ‘trouble’ him.
- Drive nails into the foot bottom of a deceased person so that their duppy (ghost) does not come back around.
- If you wash your face with rice water you will see duppy (ghost).
- If you are pregnant and feeling for a particular food and do not get it and shortly after scratch your skin, the baby will be born with that birthmark.
- If you put your handbag on the floor, you will stay poor.
- If a woman mixes her menses with a man’s food, she will ‘tie’ him to her for life.
- If you see a black bat at night, it is your dead granny ‘visiting’ with you.
- If you open a Bible over the head of a baby, he/she will be protected.
- If you are coming late at night, enter your home backwards so that a duppy (ghost) does not follow you in.
What other superstitions did you hear while growing up?