Don’t split the pole


A superstitious practice that dictates that when two people walking together encounter an obstacle (such a pole), they should stay together and maneuver around that obstacle on the same side, rather than passing by the obstacle on either side, as is often most convenient.


The informant first learned of this superstition while attending college at USC in Los Angeles.


This superstition conveys a clear message that staying together is preferable while breaking apart is bad luck. The unsaid implication is that the bad luck generated from splitting a pole would be regarding the relationship between those two who split the pole. It seems as if this superstition functions as a sort of performative gesture, in which the performance of this action serves to makes something happen. For two people to stay together while walking around an obstacles bodes that they will stay together in their relationship when they encounter their own obstacles.