Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Unluck of the Irish
I am in West Cork at the moment, the setting for The Music Lesson. I included many instances of traditional Irish superstitions and beliefs in the story, but I hear more every time I am here, many of them poetic and strange. Most recently, I heard that it is bad luck to enter a house with your two hands at the same level, though it is unclear to me whose bad luck this will bring, yours or the person whose house you have entered.
Other odd beliefs that have been mentioned lately include these:
The bed of a sick person must be placed north and south never crossways.
There is one hour in the day during which a wish made will come true. But no one knows what the hour is.
Never cut an infant's nails until it he is a year old, or he will become a thief.
The first days of the year and of the week are the luckiest.
Friday is the most unlucky day of all, and no one should begin a journey, or move into a new house, or begin a business, or cut a new dress on a Friday. Most urgently, never bring a cat from one house to another on a Friday. (If only I had known about this fear, it would surely have appeared in The Music Lesson.)
It is good to cut your hair at the new moon, and especially by the light of the moon. But not on a Friday!