The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

Front Cover
Penguin UK, Apr 6, 2006 - Social Science - 576 pages
0 Reviews
Are black cats lucky or unlucky? What should you do when you hear the first cuckoo? Since when have people believed that it's unlucky to shoot an albatross? Why does breaking a mirror lead to misfortune? This fascinating collection answers these and many other questions about the world of superstitions and forms an endlessly browsable guide to a subject that continues to obsess and intrigue.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction
Acknowledgements
The Guide
souls
telling and mourning
beetles
beginnings and continuance
luck money
lucky beans
lucky bird
Macbeth
magnets
magic in London 1920
evil omen
magpies

on table
bells
Bible and key divination
bierright
dead
droppings
birds eggs
in house
birth
birthday cakes
birth hour
birthmarks and prenatal impressions
blackberries
Devil
blacksmiths
bladebone divination
love divination
bleeding
charms
blinked
blue beads
blue clueclew
boys love
bread
breaking
burning
cutting
hole in loaf
last piece
marking with a cross
upside down
breakages
broadsides
brooches
brooms
in May
thrown
bruises
buckets
burial
charms
bus tickets
butterflies
buying and selling
calendar
calendar customs
calendars
Candlemas 2 February
alone
curesprotection
candles
letter
love divination
strangerthief
wedding
winding sheet
cards
cast neer a clout till May is out
feared
lucky
cats
babies
behaviour
black
born in May
cures using
dreaming of
dying
having a cold
moving house
nine lives
overboard
shutting in
unhealthy for humans
white
celandine Ranunculus ficaria
falling over
grave
chairs
pregnancy
turning lucky
turning unlucky
charmscharming
burning
posthumous
baby must cry
christening
boy or girl first
cures
names
christening piece
water
burning
fed to cattle
plants
putting up
removing
Christmas fly
mince pies
Christmas rose
porch watching
churching
first burial
last burial
north side
treading on graves
cigarette packets
healingdivining
unlucky
fallingbreaking
stopped
striking during church service
striking wrong
aprons
funeral mourning
clothes
garters
inside out
leaving off
leftright stocking first
mending while wearing
new blessing
new Easter
new first day worn
of the dead
skirt hem
threadpin left in
clover
lucky
cobwebs
cockerels
epilepsy cure
weather
coffee grounds
comets
confirmation
conjurers
contemporary legend
coral
cork
cures
corp criadhach body of clay
corpse candles
eyes open
limp
salt placed on
touching
unburied on Sunday
corpses hand
counting
standing stones
couples
cradlesprams
empty
new
cramp
bones
brimstone
charms
cork
draw cross
garters
shoes
water
crickets
crossed eyes
crossed fingers
luck
crowing hen
get out of my sight
number seen
unlucky
white
activity
alighting
direction of call
empty stomach
fleas
money
number of calls
occupation
shoe divination
where standing
cunning menwomen
cursing
fire of stones
turning the stones
cutlery
effect on poultry
daisies
seeds
dates food
unlucky
buttermaking
cures
deafness
doors open 1
doors open 2
death knocks
mirrors covered
salt placed on corpse
cart
Sunday
deathwatch beetle
diaries
dogs
hair
howling
luckyunlucky
saliva cures
passing under cures
donkeys
with cattle
doors
enter and leave by same
dream books
dreams
drinking glass ringing
dropping things
locating
drowning
dumb cake
Duncan Helen 18971956
eaglestone
earachedeafness
earnest money
burning
ringing
Easter
sun dances
eclipses
eels
effigies
after sunset
Good Friday
burning
witches
itching
knocking
cures
immune from lightning
negative attributes
prevents saddle sores
prohibition on burning
protective
repels flies
lucky
elm
engaged couples
ephialtes
epilepsy
forbidden words
fishing industry
knife in mast
meeting unlucky things
shedding blood
turning sunwise
unluckylucky days
fleas
flower of the well
picking up
red
red and white together
white
foot
Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951
freets
Friday 13th
unlucky
frogs
cures
frostbite
full moon
funerals
next death
right of way
seen through glass
sunwise
fungus
gallowsgibbets
cattle straying into
garlic
garters
gatesstiles
cures
geese
flowerscatkins
Michaelmas
German bands
seen through
gloves
goats
with cattle
Gods penny
gold
Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis
born on
Good Friday
bread
eggs
hairfingernails
washing
weaning babies
work
work on the land
goodbye
goose
gout
green
groundsel Senecio vulgaris
guessing
gunpowder
haddock Gadidae
hagriding
hagstones
hair
cures
cutting
disposal
divination
double crown
hair of the dog that bit you
swallowing
hairpins
Halloween 31 October
Halloween Robert Burns
Hand of Glory
handkerchiefs
itching
handsel
cures
lucky
harelips
fire prediction
witches
hares
forbidden words
meeting
cures
lucky
blossoms unlucky
hay carts
headaches
casting the heart
oatmeal cure
hearteaten
hedgehogs
hemp seed divination
crowing
hiccups
cures
holly Ilex aquifolia
protected
unlucky indoors
holly wood
Holy Innocents Day 28 December
holy stones
animated
Horsemans Word
horseradish Armoracia rusticana
first foal seen
piebald
whitegrey
white legs
horseshoes
houseleeks Sempervivum tectorum
housemartins
houses
hunchbacks
hydrangeas Hydrangea macrophylla
hydrophobia
Irish charms
iron
finding
protects
itching
cures
ivy Hedera helix
divination
ivy wood
jackdaws Corvus monedula
jaundice
jays Garrulus glandarius
John Dory Zeus faber
kail pulling
kingfishers Alcedo atthis
Kings Evil
crossed
knives
dropped
edge upwards
gift
sharpening
stirring with
toasting with
lads love
lambs
lapwings Vanellus vulgaris
last comer
laurel Prunus laurocerasus
lavender
lead
love divination
leather
left
lifecycle customs
lightning
like cures like
lilac Syringa vulgaris
limekilns
pregnant women
ruling monarch
lizards
lost property locating
ash leaf
bladebone
love divination in 1714
cabbagekail stalks
candles
dragons blood
egg whites
eggs eaten
ferns
gatesstiles
ivy leaves
lead shapes
names
new moon
nuts
onions
peas
prepared meal
roses
snails
wedding cakes
wraiths
Lovett Edward 18521933 collector and writer
one for sorrow
predict news
predict stranger
protected from harm
mail van
dominant partner
babies born in
clothes
complexion
cures
wishing
cures
meeting
bedwetting
whooping cough
Michaelmas 29 September
midsummer coal
midsummer men
midsummer rose
mirrors
breaking
covered at death
thunder and lightning
mistletoe Viscum album
kissing under
cures
feet
moles
omens
moles on body
molucca beans
crown coins
finding
new purse
moneyspidermoneyspinner
saying rabbits
births and deaths
bowing to
divination
growing plants
hairnails
marriage
moonlight dangerous
pigkilling
pointing at
right shoulder
seen emptyhanded
seen through glass
turn your apron
wart cures
weather
moths
predict letter
clothes
mouse
Napoleons Book of Fate
narrative
needles
neer cast a clout till May is out
newts
activities
fire and light
New Year
first water
inward and outward
letting in
new clothes
nightingales Luscinia megarhynchos
nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus
nightmares
Northern Lights
nosebleed cures
charms
key down back
red thread
toads
love
omen
yarrow
blue vein
itching
number 666
odds and evens
nuns
nutmegs
nuts
nutting
oakapples
oaks
od
odd numbers
old style dates
one for sorrow
divination
germs
opals
ordeal by touch
orpine
owls
parcels
giving
parsley
pregnancy
sowing
transplanting
woman is master
passing through
peacocks
pearls
pears
peas
pendulum divination
peonies
petals
petticoats
photographs
above door or bed
craving for
cures
death omens
witchcraft
forbidden word
meeting
pigs
weather
pins and needles
pins
fishing boats
wedding
plums
pneumonia
porch watching
posthumous child
potatoes
buying
parsley
lions
puritan streak in superstition
string
blackwhite
rabbits foot
rain rain go away
rainbows
crossing out
pointing at
gnawing
exodus
forbidden words
influx
ravens
red hair
cures
protective
returning
rice
rickets
right
rising of the lights
at window
Christmas cards
in house
protected from harm
rooks Corvus frugilegus
rope
rose the
love divination
rowan Sorbus aucuparia
curesprotects
love divination
wife dominant
touching
St Agnes Eve 2021 January
St Anthonys fire
St Marks EveDay 2425 April
St Martins Day 11 November
borrowing
burning
houses
helping to
placed on corpse
protective
spilling
saucepans
scalds
caning
dropped
gift
screaming skulls
seabeans
second sight
sengreen
shaking hands
shamrocks
shaving
sheets
shoelaces
shoes
burning
Christmas
on table
placed in position
putting on
squeaking
throwing
wear
baby born
death
shrews
cannot cross paths
harmful
shudder
sieve and shears
silver
silver water
singing
six six six
skull legends
skulls
moss growing on
skylarks Alauda arvensis
sleep
cures
divination
meeting and throwing
rhyme
wart cures
deaf and blind
die at sunset
eating to stay young
in house
kill the first you meet
skins
snakestones
babies
cats
left or right
number
timesituation
snowdrops Galanthus nivalis
soap
southernwood Artemisia abrotanum
sparrows Passer domesticus
spectacles
speedwell
spiders
cure whooping cough
kissing
luckyprotected
moneyspinners
spilling
oaths and fights
white horses
spittle
splinters
two in a saucer
sprains
spurge
passing on
stumbling
turning on
Stars
stepping over
sticks
stoats
stones
holed
holed passing through
standing
storms
straw boaters
string
stumbling
stye cures
suicides
sunwise
swallowshousemartins
superstition in 1620
superstition in 1711
sweeps
tablecloths
coffin
items placed on
shaking hands over
talking
at the same time
silence
bubbles
leaf reading
milk and sugar
pouring
stalk
babies first
disposal of
charms for cutting
dreaming of
early
gap between
teething
tempting fate
theatre
thirteen
thirteen at tablein company
thorns
threadstring
three breakages
three
three candles
three deaths
three dishes divination
three drains
stocking
thrush Candidosis
thumbs
doors open
pointingcounting
reflective surfaces
ripens corn
sours drink
tongs
tide
cures
tinker tailor
toadeaters
cure Kings Evil
cure nosebleeds
magic bone
meeting
used in spells
poisonous
toadstones
tobacco
lucky bit
lying
tooth fairy
toothache
cures on wrist
fingernails
love pain
moles
nails
nuts
skullsdead fingers
the worm
touching iron
touching wood
sharing
transference
turning back
love divination
twins
on bed
opening indoors
dropping
urban myths
walking sticks
beans
blacksmiths water
wart cures
bread
buying and selling
celandine
cereals
charming
cinders
counting
dandelions
elder
fasting spittle
funerals
hair
matches
meat
moon
pins
potato
soda
stickstrees
stones
straw
string
toads
causes
May
day of the year
days rhyme
egg water
washing hands together
wasps
watching the porch
boiling
wedding cakes
bride and groom dominant partner
bride or groom first to die
brides bouquet
carriage
change the name
clocksbells
colours
confettirice etc
curses
doors
elder sister
groom must not see bride
meets funeral
moons phases
something old something new
sun shines on
thresholds
throwing the stocking
touching bridegroom
weighing
wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe
in a mine
in the theatre
whistling womancrowing hen
white rabbits
person born at
widdershins
wild fire
wills
obtaining
windows
wise womenmen
witch bottles
witchriding
Witchcraft Act of 1604
wood
woodlice
work
Witchcraft Act of 1736
wrens
writing
yarrow Achillea millefolium
yellowhammers Emberiza citrinella
yew Taxus baccata
Bibliography
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Steve Roud has been researching British folklore for over thirty years and is the joint author of the Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore. He lives in Sussex.

Bibliographic information