Italian Superstitions

My informant is my best friend’s mother. She comes from a very Italian family, and learned a lot of folklore from her grandmother. She is a fascinating woman who has traveled the world. She has a wide knowledge of Native American history and folklore. She is involved with the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, a diverse group of women from around the world who are devoted to prayer. She lives on Nantucket, so I was able to Skype with her one day to talk about things she has learned from her Italian heritage, in particular, as well as her other vast knowledge of folklore from around the world.


[On her Italian Heritage]

Informant: “I’ll start with my Italian Hertitage because it’s very familiar to me. For example, the Italians were very superstitious for one thing,  I can remember my Great Grandmother would say she could tell the sex of a baby if they used a needle like a pendant over the woman’s belly, if it spun in a circle it meant it was a girl and if it went in a straight line it meant it was a boy. The other one I remember distinctly was my Grandmother said you can never open a gift before the actual date, you should never open it before you birthday because it’s bad luck. I remember being with my mom with her mom once and her mom was not happy about the fact that my mom opened a gift too early… and we left the house and we got to the bottom of the hill [in Italy] and the brakes didn’t work on the car and our car went out into the highway! The present was to blame.”