No Use Crying Over Spilt Salt
When you spill pepper, you do nothing, but thats not the case when you spill salt. You just gotta throw some over your shoulder. Its a superstition so embedded in so many people, its almost at the point where its tradition. I mean, they even do it on the food network. Emeril is always running around his little kitchen setup on the backlot of some studio, tossing about ingredients, cutting peppers or whatnot, yelling BAM! everywhere, he spills a little salt, tosses some over his shoulder, and moves on. I asked a bunch of people about this superstition, and why they thought it was so prevalent.
Mayra often attends a Posada around Christmas time, which she says are really popular in Mexico. Posadas are like parties, where everyone in a neighborhood dresses up and goes from door to door asking for food, drinks, and occasionally sings carols. At the end, one house lets you in for a giant party in which everybody attends. Its supposed to be similar to the search for a place to give birth by Mary and Joseph.
A lot of the time, Christmas traditions can be very tied to the religious roots of the Holiday, but more than ever we seem to be moving away from that, with Christmas coming to represent the big fat guy in the red suit and shiny, wrapped gifts rather than any sort of religious symbol. Whatever way you celebrate it, Christmas is a popular folk holiday with many different, unique traditions and ways of celebrating it. It seems like every house you go to has a different variation on how they celebrate, a small twist in tradition. The actual traditions of the Holiday are so diverse that it seems like the only one that everyone seems to follow is the Christmas tree.
Ring Around The Rosie
I was at work when another co-worker of mine suggested that I look into that old childrens game, Ring Around The Rosie. Her name is Kristen, and when I asked her why she explained that she had head it had something to do with the black plague.
So, I looked it up. I remembered playing the game when I was a kid, holding hands with my peers and the exhilaration I felt before letting my legs out and dropping to the grass in laughter.
Line by line, the old rhyme can be analyzed and connected to the Black Death bubonic plague that swept through Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Apparently, the first line refers rose-colored puss boils that people would get all of their body at the start of infection, which would eventually become encircled by dark rings.
The second line refers to the custom of putting posies in the pockets of those killed by the plague, in order to warn people from going near the body, because the disease was extremely contagious.
Ashes, Ashes refers to the ashes of the dead, because those who died of the disease would eventually be burned to ashes in order to stop the spread of the Black Death.
The last line, We all fall down refers to peoples fear that the disease would wipe out the entire population of the earth. Almost everyone knew someone who died of the disease, and it wiped out a large portion of the population.