Traditions of luck related to sewing dated back to the Middle Ages. Until today, they are followed by tailors, seamstresses and women who sew clothes for their family members. It is an age old belief that dropping a needle by accident bodes good fortune. However, you are not so lucky if you drop a pair of scissors, as it is believed that this event is an ominous sign, unless you remember to step on them before retrieving them from the floor. Leaving a pair of scissors open on the table, thus forming a cross is also considered bad luck.
There are also other beliefs linked to sewing. For example, those who start work on a piece of clothing on Friday need to finish their task by sunset, failing means misfortune will befall them. Likewise, it is considered bad luck to sew on Sundays.
When or by whom candles were invented in still a mystery. However, there is proof that they were used by people in both Egypt and Crete as early as 3000 B.C. It is believed that candles were used to scare away evil spirits during that time.
The ancient Hebrews believed that candles could fend off evil forces from those who were dying. These candles would be kept lighted a week after the death of a person. In Shiva, a Jewish ritual, this custom is still practiced. A week after the demise of a family member, those in the family will sequester for a week. To keep evil influences away from the dead and well as those alive, another similar custom is practiced in Ireland. A dozen candles will be positioned around the coffin in a circle. Sometimes, three candles will be burned at Irish wakes and the candle wicks will be kept as a treatment for burn injuries.
The Irish regard the burning of three candles simultaneously in a room as bad luck because people usually associate the burning of three candles to the demise of a person. In the theatre, the same belief holds true. Actors and others consider three candles as an ominous sign.
In Scotland, candles are burned for good luck when people are seriously ill or dying. It is believed that candles obtained from someone who is considered as unlucky, such as a witch, will bring good fortune.
In the Appalachians, an unsteady candle flame is viewed as an ill omen. Likewise, the Scotch-Irish consider the burning of a candle in a vacant room bad luck. In Britain, people predict impending bad luck by observing how the candle wax drips. People believe that it is an ominous sign if the wax drips around the candle instead of straight down. In Germany, it is considered a sign of bad luck if one candle wick splits into two and continues to burn with two flames. In neighboring Austria, people are of the opposite view that such an occurrence should be regarded as a signal that good luck will be approaching in the mail soon.
In Shakespeare’s King Richard the Third, the Ghost of Buckingham goes into a room illuminated with blue candlelight, demonstrating an old English saying that a candle lighted by a blue flame spells trouble. Fret not, as one can ward off this bad luck by using running water to snuff out the candle flame.
In the seventeenth century, people believed that if the candle flame of a consecrated candle was reflected in a pirate’s eye, he would have no choice but to divulge the location of buried treasure.
Since ancient times, people have believed in the ability of beads to bring good luck or protect against bad luck. Generally, beads that are strung together to make necklaces have been frequently used to fend off the evil eye. It is an age old belief that beads made of glass or stone have supernatural powers. This is the reason why beads have been used in worship rituals for many religions. There are many varieties of stones. Each type of stone brings different luck. For example, people believe that amber stones strung together to form a necklace can help to heal a host of illnesses. Aquamarine beads can bring luck to one’s love life. Catholic churches use onyx stones as rosary beads as they are believed to be able to induce deep thoughts.
According to old Islamic beliefs, apples have the ability to heal almost all diseases. The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is prevalent in the Western world. In fact, there is more than meets the eye where the use of apples is concerned. Besides curing ailments, they are used in many parts of America to find out one’s fate in love especially during Halloween. According to one tradition, if you assign a letter of the alphabet as you twist the stem of an apple, the breaking of the stem at a certain turn will signify that you have reached the initial of the one who is in love with you. Another one says that if you peel an apple and toss the peeled skin over your left shoulder, the initial of your true love will be revealed when the apple skin lands and forms the shape of an alphabet. Another way of finding your true love is to gather a group of people and get each one to toss an apple into a tub of water. As each takes turns to try picking one up by biting onto it, the person whose apple you bite onto will be your future husband or wife.
Old Norse legends tell of a story where the gods ate apples to stay eternally youthful. Also, the Greeks believed that the fruit is a guarantee of longevity. In fact, out of so many stories, the only time the apple is portrayed in negative light is in the story of Adam and Eve, in which the first woman is overcome by temptation to eat it. On the other hand, it was never mentioned in the Bible that it was an apple. It was discovered only much later. According to Genesis, Eve was in the garden when she picked the fruit of an unknown tree. Through the serpent’s words, it was implied that the tree was the tree of knowledge. Ancient people then started to give their own interpretation to the story, thinking that it was none other than the apple tree. Since then, people started to regarded apples as symbols of temptation. However, the ability of apples to bring good luck, longevity and knowledge is still believed by many.