Informant- Obviously they didn’t have any vacuumes back in the day, its all sweeping right, you had to sweep the whole house if you wanted to clean it, umm… if you needed to sweep at night.. you couldn’t just sweep at night .. what you had to do ..you had to spit on the broom.. to make sure that it wasn’t cursed and once you did that then you were free to sweep at night.

Collector: why is that?

Informant: i don’t know

Collector: is there any correlation between water and spitting?

Informant: ” Well like i know another story.. this doesn’t count.. but to give an example of spitting. but i remember we were walking in this mall and they have like horse drawn carriages or whatever in southern california.. and the horse.. the horse pooped..right as we were passing by.. and my mom was like you have to spit.. you have to spit at it to reject it’s evil it gives you when it does that.. she was joking obviously she doesn’t believe that..

Collector: the evil that the horse pooped?..that hilarious.

Informant: yea yea Spitting kinda wards off those spirits.. so it goes with the broom.. you have to spit on the broom make sure there are no spirits on the broom.. and you are thus not cursing your house by sweeping it.


This story comes from sam’s family, his mother specifically. His family is from Cairo but his parents parents are from the south of Egypt which is the “hicks ” of Egypt. he claims that the south is where more traditional folklore and superstitions come from. His family are Coptic Christians. Sam believes that these superstitions are neither christian nor Muslim but actually developed in ancient Egypt.


This custom contradicts western culture. I find it interesting that we tend to believe spitting is a bad thing, a disgusting thing that people without etiquette or education do, but spitting is natural and necessary to take out unwanted things from our mouths. As Sam’s account tells us, the people that share these beliefs in Egypt Spit in order to protect themselves, I wonder how this practice is seen in public, whether some find it gross or socially acceptable because of its protective meaning. Maybe the spirits themselves are disgusted by the spit and decide to leave because of it.