German: Owls, Change and Good Luck

Trasncribed Text:

“There are some superstitions in German. Like when you hear, in German or..for German people. That when you hear an owl hoot, if you jingle the change in your pocket, you’ll have good luck for the year with your crops.”

The informant is a student at the University of Southern California. She says that she first heard this folk belief from her grandma when she was a young child. The informant says she knows many pieces of folklore from Germany but rarely believes in any of them. She says she thinks this superstition originates from centuries ago when many people believed in luck for their crops to grow. She doesn’t know why and how owls and change are related, though she speculates that many superstitions do not make sense in modern context anymore.

I agree with her analysis about superstitions and crops. Because farmers cannot determine the fate of their crops from just working hard, as weather and other factors were often uncontrollable aspects of the occupation, farmers relied a lot on luck and superstitions to help them. The lack of understanding the meaning of owls and change shows the loss of context as this saying was passed down through generations. If the saying originally had meaning for the owl and the change, it is lost today, at least in the informant’s family.