Author Archive
Folk Beliefs
general
Signs

Superstition

This superstition my mother used to tell me about dishrags. She believed that whenever you dropped a dishrag, that meant that someone would come knock on your door soon. This could happen any time of the day, any time of the year, just in general someone would be there soon.

I’m not sure if this is a good or bad superstition but it seems pretty general and forward. I do not know if this ever comes true or if it means something else. If it were to mean something else I believe that it would mean that right when you are doing a lot and moving a lot and are really busy, someone will come and visit you right then. I picture a housewife moving swiftly in the kitchen and dropping her dishrag while busily cooking and being flustered when the doorbell rings right as she picks it up. So it could be a metaphor for when you’re busy something else will come along too.

Folk Beliefs
general
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Magic

Folk Belief

My stepdaughter’s ex-husband married a Native American woman and they had a baby together. Since most Native Americans have extremely straight hair, she did not want her daughter to have this hair so she found an old folk way of making it wavier for when she grew up. Right after the baby was born,  she went out to the pastures to where the cows lived and took back some manure. She took the manure and rubbed it on her baby’s head because this was supposed to ensure that when her hair grew in, it would be wavy or curly and not straight like traditional Native American hair.

How the hair grew in I don’t know, but this belief was passed down through Native Americans to use on their children to avoid the extremely straight hair of their people.

Folk medicine
general

Folk Medicine

Your grandmother used to make your uncle and I do this any time we got a splinter or any time one of us had a cut anywhere that got infected. What you do is you take adhesive tape and put it on the infected area. Your grandma swears by it, she thought that if you did this, the sticky part would ‘suck’ out the splinter or puss and heal whatever was hurting.

This method was taught to me when I was little, and I also swear by it. Since my mother taught it to me I tell my friends to do this when they get infections and things like this.

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
general

Folk Medicine

When I was little and I had an earache, my mom would take a cotton ball and dip it in warm olive oil that she had heated up to soothe the pain and make it feel better. It was also supposed to make the earache go away too. I know a lot of other kids had their parents do this too but I know my mom had gotten it from my grandma.

I’ve never had an earache so my mother never did this to me but after further research, I’ve learned that it is bad to put olive oil in anyones ear so I don’t know that this would be folklore I would pass on. I do know that this was a common way of soothing the pain.

Folk Beliefs
general
Signs

Superstition

An old superstition.

My mother used to tell me that if my hand ever began to itch it meant that I would be coming into some money soon. I still haven’t won the lottery yet so I don’t know how well it works.

I had never heard this superstition before my mother told me that my grandmother used to believe in it. After some research, it seems that people believe if your left palm is itching then you will be coming into money unless you are left handed then you will be losing money soon. Some also believe that if your right hand itches then you will be getting money and if your left hand itches then you will be losing money. I think it all depends on the personal beliefs which in this case my grandmother just believed if either palm itched then money would be coming in. This probably stemmed as a sign of hope or belief during such times as the depression when nobody had money if they thought it was coming maybe they subconsciously worked harder or something.

Childhood
Folk medicine
general

Folk Medicine

How to cure a child of their erratic behavior.

Whenever a child is acting crazy or erratic and the parents are embarrassed or something of their behavior or they were being made fun of for how they acted or something, what you are supposed to do is crack an egg in water and put it under the bed. When you check on it in a couple of days and if the egg dissolved in the water, then the child was supposedly cured of whatever their behavioral problem was.

I’d never heard of this before but apparently, this was supposed to work when children were acting crazy.

Folk medicine
general

Folk Medicine

An old way of getting rid of a cough, cold, or congestion is something my mother used to do for me when I was little. You make a mustard plaster from dry mustard, water and flour. You are supposed to rub it on your chest and it makes you sweat so you can get better faster.

I had also never heard of this before my grandmother telling me about it but after looking it up online I found that it is a commonly known folk medicine belief. There are many websites that explain what happens and how this remedy works.

Folk medicine
general

Folk Medicine

My grandmother explained to me that when you get a bee sting, to soothe the area and to stop the itching and swelling, you must put mud on it. She learned this from her mother who used to put this on the children whenever they had itchy areas and bee stings. It is also supposed to draw the stinger out .

 

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
general

Folk Medicine

Since my grandmother has been a nurse all her life, she somehow managed to learn numerous home remedies and folk medicine that she swears by to this day that she also learned from her mother which seem to work better than modern medicine for some.

One of the more interesting remedies she seems to go by involves earaches. She believes that if you have an earache what you need to do is blow cigarette smoke into the infected ear and it is supposed to help the ear heal quicker. This is one of the craziest folk remedies I’ve ever heard of to date, it seems that cigarette smoke would hurt the ear because of the chemicals but maybe there is some ingredient that helps ears.

general
Signs

Superstition

An old superstition.

My mother always warned me that if I ever spilt salt on the table I had to pick some up with my right hand and throw it over my left shoulder or else I would be getting in a fight with someone soon.

Although this is a common superstition and I always make sure to throw the salt over a crossed shoulder, I always thought it was because it was bad luck not to. Nobody had ever really explained to me why people in my family did it other than that is what we were supposed to do. After speaking with my grandma about learning it from my great grandma, it makes much more sense why people believe in it so wholeheartedly. Also, after learning why some people did it, I thought that this was an interesting twist on people’s reasoning for acting on this specific superstition.

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