In the early days of our nation, settlers brought to our shores many superstitions by which they lived their home lives, many of which remain with us to this day. You don’t put much store in superstitions nowadays, you say? Well, when was the last time you didn’t avoid passing under a ladder set up against the house to remove leaves from the gutter?
Today, many of those superstitions have become traditions and we don’t think much about their origins. One of those lingering superstitions came to mind recently when I saw a porch ceiling painted a pale blue green and wondered whether the owner hailed originally from the deep South or if it were just a coincidence. Where I grew up in Virginia and further south in places like South Carolina, many porch ceilings are painted what is known as “haint” blue, haint being another word for ghost.
In the founding days of our colonies, that color became associated with the superstition that it protected the homeowner from being “taken” by restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from the physical world. It was thought that the ghostly spirits would think that the color was water, and they would pass over it, rather than settle there. Use of the color became a tradition as it was passed from generation to generation.
There are other superstitions associated with the home beyond ladders and blue ceilings observed through the years. Here are a few of the more interesting to ponder.
Earlier generations believed that when you move out of a house, the broom should be left behind because, along with the dust of the home, old brooms carried the negative aspects of your life. A new broom signified a fresh start.
Along with a new broom, bread and salt were brought along from the old to a new home to keep evil spirits away.
According to a Jewish superstition, it’s bad luck to place shoes on a dresser or table According to my mother’s Italian tradition, the no-no was to place them on a bed, but wasn’t that just a good housekeeping point?
Also, there persists a superstition to never open an umbrella inside. That superstition seems to originate in the belief that since umbrellas are used for protection from the sun, this would be an insult to the sun god.
There is a long held belief that moving into a new home on a Friday, Saturday or rainy day is unlucky. According to Indian superstition, the luckiest moving day is Thursday.
It is said that we should never pound nails after sunset or we’ll wake the tree gods. But practically, won’t we annoy the neighbors?
To read the rest of this column, click here. Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com, and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call (914) 522-2076.