Growing up in Ireland as a child I constantly heard a cornucopia of superstitions on the streets as I played or from friends and family members in the home. Some of these superstitions were fairly generic and often found elsewhere on the English speaking globe, others were more local and geographically based around Belfast, Antrim or Down. One of my fondest memories of the time is of listening to my grandmother imparting all the lunar lore she recalled from her life in the last few years.
Some 35 years ago one of my aunts collected a great host of these superstitions for posterity alongside a further collection of children’s rhymes, songs, games and chants. Over the coming year I intend to tell you about some of these, alongside my grandmother’s recollections of moon magic. Many of them you will recognize, others may be a pleasant surprise. Here goes …..
“If your feet are itching, you are to walk upon a strange ground.”
“If your nose is itching little mite, it means you’re heading for a bit of a fight.”
“If you pinch your right ear lobe when it burns, the person who is thinking spitefully of you will bite their tongue. If your left ear is burning – left is for love! If your right ear is burning – right is for spite!”
“If your hands are itching, right is for a new friend (i.e. shaking their hand) and left is for new money (i.e. receiving the coins). To bring it about you must quickly rub the itchy palm exactly so:
Rub it on wood
And it’s sure to come good;
Rub it on iron
And it’s sure to come flying;
Rub it on your ass
And it’s sure to come to pass”