ladder by sbluerock
Ladder by sbluerock

Yesterday while we were in the elevator, headed to the basement to do the laundry, E pointed out that our apartment building has no thirteenth floor. I never really thought much about it before, but just accepted it as a fact.

“That’s because no one wants to live on the thirteenth floor. In all the horror movies, that’s where people die.” I nodded solemnly.I’m not sure if he bought my explanation. There are various explanations for the missing thirteenth floor, some are innocent and others sinister.

Superstitions seem to pop up in all kinds of strange places, and situations.

It’s NHL playoff time, so I expect to see a decrease in shaving until it’s over. Sports fans and athletes are notorious for their superstitions.

One of the first gifts my in laws sent us when we moved into our apartment was a glass pomegranate, with a slice cut open to show the seeds inside. I remembered seeing one in their home, but never asked why. It turns out that is a traditional first gift when you have purchased a new home, as it is a symbol of prosperity and fertility. There are baby blue and pink beads tied to it, and I did get not so subtle hint. lol

E’s also hugely superstitious. He’ll stop a car in the road if a black cat crosses, and wait for someone else to pass first. This is a guy that does not believe in the possibility of supernatural entities, so it’s amusing to watch him paralyzed in fear over a cat. He’ll never walk under a ladder. He also believes that a particular kind of cold wind will make you sick, and I’ve seen it happen to him – there’s power to belief. It’s never happened to me.

My family has a few of its own. My dad swears we should never take a shower on Good Friday. The one year he bathed his dog on Good Friday (when no work should be done, and bathing = work), it lost all its hair. My mom always puts out oranges at New Years, to encourage good fortune. She also grows a pachira or money tree. The more points each leaf of a money tree has, the more prosperity it’s supposed to bring. When my parents go away on vacation, and my brother inevitably forgets to water it, mom always gets angry, because she needs to restore it back to health. Now hmm, actually sounds rather metaphorical.

I don’t subscribe to many, but one of my personal superstitions include wearing something new on New Year’s day, as a symbol that the year includes a fresh start. I also like to avoid talking about what I’m writing until it’s done. Irrationally, I think by talking about it, the idea might change or slip away from me. The excitement, let out and escaped forever.

Now I’m wondering what kind of superstitions my characters might believe in. Are you superstitious?


  1. Oh, I’m highly superstitious. Some of my favorite personal superstitions are politeness and grammar. Have I ever told you the one about the time I refused to go see Friday the 13th and the power went out?

  2. “there’s power to belief”

    So true.

    I’m definitely superstitious — I believe in jinxes, in the sense that being arrogant basically means the universe is going to put you back in your place. So don’t declare things to be positively true if they are out of your control! The universe will totally school you!

    But other than knocking on wood (or whatever convenient surface is nearby) to show the universe my respect, I don’t really worry about other superstitions. And I think black cats are gorgeous. 🙂

    My mom is a lot more superstitious, in ways that she doesn’t even realize because it’s just Chinese culture that she has internalized. Andy is like the opposite of superstitious, lol. But sometimes we do things out of tradition — like eat fish on Chinese New Year — that might seem superstitious.

    Also, I never thought about my characters being superstitious, but I LOVE that and now need to work it into my ms! (Because it totally fits the world.)

    1. Oh yay! Glad I could help spark a story idea! 😀

      Sometimes I worry about that first one too ie. I don’t want to say I’m going to win a game / trash talk, because then I’m afraid its going to happen if I do. Hrm as an aside, I think its funny girls are taught not to be arrogant, while its not as taboo for men.

  3. I would say I’m not terribly superstitious… but as I think about it I do some things that seem superstitious in nature.

    A big one that comes to mind is when the sky looks gray I usually try to make sure I grab my umbrella even if the forecast doesn’t seem like there should be rain because I’ll think “It’s sure to rain if I don’t have my umbrella with me”. But maybe that’s not really superstition so much as normal?

    But for the most part, I don’t spend much time thinking about superstitions or worrying about things that will cause me “bad luck”. I do worry about general “back luck” sometimes, but I don’t think that there are specific things I can do to change that.

  4. Hmm…I’ve never thought about this before, lol. I can’t think of anything I do that qualifies as being superstitious! But the one about E pulling over when he sees black cats was funny, heh.

    Well…okay, piggy-backin’ off Stephen’s rain situation, here. I tend not to wash my car because it seems like every time I do it gets messy again within the next two days, haha. Pretty much never fails. (And it doesn’t rain a whole lot here to begin with, which is probably why it even matters at all…)

  5. I would say that I’m not. But when I was an athlete in college, I did have my routines. For me, it put me in the right state of mind. Everyone on the team had their little superstitionish quirk.

  6. I like the money tree and the thought on it as metaphorical. I’m not terribly superstitious, but then I do get into doing some things by habit. I also probably subscribe to your don’t talk about current work “superstition”.

    I double-quoted superstition with regards to the current work, because it doesn’t seem like it really is a superstition. However, the more I thought about it the less I could find a reason why it wouldn’t be a superstition. I guess it’s what the scientific people do. They avoid using the word superstition.

    1. I think that some people have more rational reasons for not talking about their work in progress. I feel like the idea’s going to evaporate or disappear on me, which isn’t very scientific at all. I was thinking about it… when does private ritual turn into superstition? The line’s a bit blurry.

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