GESTURE: Knocking on wood when speaking of one’s good fortune
INFORMANT DESCRIPTION: Female, 60, Mexican
CONTEXT: This woman was saying how happy she was and how lucky she felt and immediately knocked on a wood surface next to her. She says she learned this gesture from her family. Whenever you speak of something good in your life or something positive you want to happen you must knock on wood.
ANALYSIS: This traces back to Jesus who she says was the step son of a carpenter, Joseph. Also Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross, she says when we knock on wood we are saying “God help us” or “God willing.” It is an anti-jinx mechanism that is supposed to prevent you from bad luck.
THOUGHTS: I learned this when I was a baby and have always practiced this gesture. Every single time I am grateful out loud I knock on wood or anytime I say something that I want to happen/come true. For me the wood symbolism doesn’t really matter, but the act of doing it unconsciously makes me feel like I have anti-jinxed myself.