Water lot of hogwash…

Do you freeze when a black cat crosses your path, or do you avoid stepping on a crack, so you won’t ‘break your mother’s back?’

spilling waterCaptain Mark Dalton, Captain William C Minter and Lieutenant Commander Matthew Walsh get a bucket of water thrown on them during their promotion to captain and lieutenant commander on the fantail of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Humans are superstitious, finding oracles, deities and gods under rocks, in trees and yes – in water. While some cultures take their water superstitions very seriously, there are some interesting ones to ponder.

In honour of Halloween this week, we offer up superstitions around water.

glass of waterLeaving water on a table top will dispel bad spirits and attract ants.
Image credit: il8.picdn.net

Leave a full glass of water out on a counter top or on top of the refrigerator to ward off negative energy or bad spirits at night

Sore and reddened eyes? We have the remedy for you! Throw away those eye drops and grab a handful of snow. According to this superstition eyes should be bathed using water that has fallen as snow. However, there is a catch. If the remedy is to be successful, then the snow must have fallen during the month of May – the heart of summer in the northern hemisphere.

Aching, sore hands in winter can also be cured with snow. As winter comes and the first snow falls, gather some in a bowl and let it melt. Use the melted snow water to bathe your hands. Simple. You should be cured for the duration of the winter, if you don’t have chilblains as a result.

sneezeForget superstition, if someone sneezes like this, DUCK!
Image credit: i1.wp.com

If someone sneezes once (more than once is okay) as you are leaving the house, it’s bad luck, so you have to go back in, sit down for a while, drink some water and then attempt to leave again.

Those freckles bothering you? Nothing easier, simply visit your local blacksmith (one of which will be found of every corner of the average town or city) and ask him for some of the water that he has dipped his iron in to stop it smouldering. Use this water to bathe the freckles and they should just about vanish.

To treat many skin complaints, collect some of the water from the first summer shower and bottle it. This water can be used to treat many skin complaints. (The water is reputedly good for freckles too, but don’t tell the blacksmiths…)

Let the kettle boil over or fill the teapot too much and a thunderstorm will surely follow. (May I suggest people in the Cape use this remedy?)


In Germany, it is strongly forbidden to say ‘cheers’, or ‘Prost’ with water. Even for a joke. Because it is said you are literally wishing death to all your drinking buddies.

prostIn Germany, don’t say ‘Prost’ over water unless you want a querulous look…
Image credit: Mental Floss

In Austria eating raw sliced garlic mixed up with yogurt brings good luck (yuk!) while telling dreams before drinking water brings bad luck… 

In Slovakia, a strange superstition occurs on Easter Monday, which marks the arrival of spring. In each village, the boys hit (symbolically) the girls, or throw water at them. In return, the girls decorate and give them an egg, a ribbon, sweets or – more commonly today – a few coins.

throwing waterThrowing water at a girl will earn you a klap, finished and klaar!
Image credit: Turkishisms

Bulgarians have superstitions around water and travel. When someone leaves the house for travel, or for important days, such as weddings, the first day of a new job or the last day at school, people throw some water, for instance a cup of water, and say, “everything goes like on water”. This means good luck, or in the case of a travel that all the things in the person’s absence will run smoothly like water flows.

In Macedonia, the evening before the Lent, the oldest member of the family ties an egg to a string and the rest of the family tries to catch it with their mouths. If you catch the egg it will bring you good fortune. If you drink water from the shell, you will dispel bad spirits… It is also believed that if you bathe your children with the water where you dyed the first Easter egg, they will be healthy and strong.

eggsBathing kids in water where you dyed your first Easter egg will ensure that they are multi-coloured…
Image credit: TLC

Spilling water for luck is a Serbian folk custom. According to a Serbian belief, spilling water behind the person who goes on a journey, or to do a job, will bring good luck and is done so that the travel or the job will end happily.

Okay, that’s enough, get back to work!



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