Christmas Superstitions by Mrs. Cora Linn 1903
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In Dewsbury, in Yorkshire, the bells used to be rung on Christmas eve in token that the devil died when Christ was born.
It is believed by many people in Belgium that bread that is baked on Christmas, and put away, will keep fresh and good until next Christmas.
To win the favor of the fairies a bowl of mush is set out of doors on Christmas eve. (Sweden.)
In Sweden, if anyone passes a house on Christmas night and asks, "Is anyone to die here?" there will be a death in the house.
To pick up nuts or apples from the ground at Christmas will bring sores to you.
Those who quarrel on Christmas day or night will have no luck in friendship, love, or pocket.
On Christmas eve all the shoes must be carefully placed together in order so that all may live in harmony throughout the year.
Nothing that is sown on Christmas eve perishes, although it should be sown in the snow. (Netherlands.)
In England to send away the carol singers from your door without any money, forebodes ill luck for you.
Sneezing on Christmas day is considered a favorable omen.
It is unlucky to spin or to carry the spinning wheel from one side of the house to the other on Christmas.
Thunder during Christmas week means that there will be much snow during the winter.
He who steals anything safely at Christmas can steal safely all the year.
If at Christmas a scythe is placed in the fodder, the witches can do no harm to the cattle.
On Christmas eve set a vessel containing water outside of your window, and when the water freezes it will form an object that will show your future husband's occupation.
He who walks into the corn on Christmas eve hears all that will happen in the village that year.
On Christmas eve the women run about and strike a "swinish hour." If the great hog grunts, it is a sign that the future husband will be an old man; but if a small one grunts, he will be young and handsome.
Water drawn on Christmas eve will change to wine, or preserve its sweetness through all the year to come.
"The wish that is spoken at Yule-tide Shall not be crossed nor yet denied."
In Sweden at Christmas every visitor must partake of the Yule feast or he will carry off the Yule joy.
If on Christmas night the wine ferments heavily in the barrels, a good wine year is to follow.
If yew is accidentally brought into the house at Christmas among the evergreens, it is looked upon as a sign that a death will occur in the family before the end of a year.
A death in the parish at Christmastide is the sign of many deaths during the year.
Eggs laid at Christmas time will produce large, beautiful chickens. (Netherlands.)
To laundry a Christmas present takes out the good luck.
Nothing sown on Christmas day will perish although sown in the snow. (Netherlands.)
In Germany beer poured on white flour out of doors on Christmas eve, will bring good luck for the year.
In Sweden it is considered to be unlucky to leave webs of linen out of doors at Christmas time, to bleach, for it renders the ground barren.
Gilded nutmegs are exchanged on Christmas in some places for luck.
In Ireland the one who first announces the crowing of the cock on Christmas morning will be the luckiest.
Ill luck will attend those who blow the fire at Christmas with unclean hands.
For a household to be out of oil or fish on Christmas day is a sign of misfortune.
Seven grains of corn given in Russia to a horse on Christmas will cause him to be healthy and faithful all the year.
If the good wife burns the cakes on Christmas, she will die in the year. (Bohemia.)
In Yorkshire, at Christmas eve, the good dame produces a fresh cheese on which is carved a rude cross. This cheese will bring luck to the house.
People in Gloucestershire, England, usually examine their pews carefully, to be sure that every vestige of Christmas greens was removed before Candlemas day, because it was considered a sure sign of death if one leaf remained.
Food from the Christmas supper is thrown on the fire and a branch of cherry is left there for luck, in Albania.
One should never lend anything on the day before Christmas as it may be used for enchantments. (Bohemia.)
A London saying is that a white Christmas makes a brown Easter. In Germany exists the saying: "Green Christmas—white Easter."
To save a piece of wood from a Christmas fire and keep it all the year to light the Christmas fire next time will bring good luck.
The planets stand still while the beasts of the field kneel and pray for them on Christmas night.
An old-fashioned document says that you must take your horse to the river on Christmas morning and make it walk against the current. Throw an apple into the stream below, and if it hits the horse, it will be strong during the coming year.
A cricket chirruping on Christmas is a sign of good luck for the coming year.
In some parts of England, the belief is current that the sheep walk in procession on Christmas eve.
In Scotland, if a bannock baked for anyone at Christmas, breaks in the middle, he will not live till another Christmas.
The one who finds the single raisin put into the Christmas pudding, will marry first.
Bread baked on Christmas eve will never become mouldy.
In Lincolnshire, if all the Yule cake is eaten on Christmas eve and none saved for Christmas day, the year will be unlucky.
He who eats a raw egg, fasting, on Christmas morning, can carry heavy weights.
Oatmeal and water eaten by the Irish on New Year's morn will save them from sickness for the year.
In the Northeast of Scotland great exertions are made to secure meat for the Christmas dinner; if it should be wanting, the cattle will not thrive.
To dream of a black cat at Christmas is a sign of alarming illness. (German.)
If you eat corn on Christmas day, you will have good crops that year.
If If the dog howls the night before Christmas, it will go mad within a year.
If you seat an odd number of guests at the Christmas supper, some of them will become enemies before the next year is out.
Who steps into a hank of cotton on Christmas day will have bad luck and sickness.
Let not the light go out on Christmas eve, or one in the house will die.
On Christmas night no one should go to bed lest the witches should carry one off.
A hoop coming off a cask on Christmas eve shows that some one in the house will die that year.
If, when lights are brought in on Christmas eve, anyone has a shadow with only half a head, he will die in half a year. As much head as one has in the shadow so long will one live.
In Anspach it is believed that if the Christmas candles cast the shadow of any person in such a manner as to make him appear headless, he will die before another Christmas.
Make little sand heaps with a thimble for each member of the family on Christmas eve, and whose heap has fallen in by the next morning is sure to die during the year. (Prussia.)
If a barefoot boy comes into the house while the Yule log is burning, it is a bad sign.
The ashes of the Yule log should be kept for good luck.
For real good luck kiss the oldest person in the house on Christmas day and the youngest on New Year's day.
The house-keeper should go to the fruit tree on Christmas eve and shake the tree, saying: "Tree, wake up, wake up, and give us plenty of fruit next year."
It is unlucky to be the first home from church on Christmas. That person will be the first to die.
It is an old superstition that if you die in Christmas week, your soul will go to Heaven.
It is a bad omen for anyone to leave the table at Christmas supper until all have finished.
In France the Yule log is supposed to protect from evil all persons who are seated around it, and this charm extends throughout the year.
The ashes of the Christmas oak log have mysterious virtues and are always saved.
The maiden who marries on Christmas day need have no fear for the future, for her luck is insured.
At 12 o'clock of Christmas eve animals are endowed with speech and prophecy.
To bathe on Christmas day will secure freedom from fevers and toothaches.
If the head of the house will go out on Christmas eve and hit three blows on the wood block with his axe, the foxes will let the chickens alone for the coming year.
On Christmas morning the servant should be sent to draw water from the well, pull corn from the shock, and dig kale in the garden, to insure prosperity to the family.
On Christmas day take a piece of both rye bread and wheat bread, and lay a knife on each piece; on what piece the knife will rust, is a sign that there will be plenty of that kind of grain.
In Servian Christmas celebrations a cake in which a silver piece has been concealed is broken, and he to whom it falls, is considered the happiest and luckiest of the party.
In some places it is the custom to make for Christmas night a so called "fraternal bed" on the floor in which the children and domestics sleep together on Yule straw.
A cup of whatever cheers Christmas revellers poured about the roots of fruit trees, will insure a good crop.
If you give a coin to a beggar on Christmas day, it will bring great good luck to you.
In Prussia the clothes-lines must not be hung aloft on Christmas day or New Year's on penalty of bad luck.
In Dewsbury, in Yorkshire, the bells used to be tolled on Christmas eve, in token that the devil died when Christ was born, at the very time when the Puritans supposed the devil to be more active than usual.
The Yule log was supposed to be a protection against evil spirits, and it was considered a bad omen if the fire went out before the evening was over.
You should set the Christmas candles on the highest shelf in the room.
It is unlucky to use ivy for Christmas decorations.
Be sure to have cheese and cake in the house on Christmas, and let no one tempt you to cut it before the proper time, as it would bring very bad luck.
To have luck every one in the house must stir the Christmas pudding, beginning with the oldest even if she be a servant.
In Anspach, Germany, when the Christmas candles are lighted on the Christmas tree, one has only to observe the shadows to know who will die in the year, for those who will, will appear with the heads off.
On Christmas eve make a little heap of salt on the table and leave it over night. If it melts, you will die next year; if it remains undiminished, you will live.
In the Netherlands they say that if you take a stick of wood from the fire which has not been quite burned up on Christmas eve and put it under the bed, it will protect the house from lightning for the year.
It is unlucky to leave any of the dishes dirty on Christmas eve.
Who eats nuts without honey on Christmas day will lose his teeth; others say that he who does not eat honey and garlic Christmas eve will have a sore throat.
As many mince pies eaten Christmas week, so many happy months next year, but each one counted must be made by different hands, and eaten in different houses.
To eat Christmas pudding in 13 different houses before the first of January is a sign that you will have joy and prosperity during the coming year.
The Yule candle was burned at the Christmas feast until twelve o'clock, and then, if any remained, it was carefully preserved for the "death-wake" of the head of the family. If it went out before twelve, woe would follow.
At Christmas it used to be the custom to set little bowls of Yule porridge and other eatables on the floor of the barn together with a jacket for the "Tomtegubbe," a household spirit, in order that he might continue to bring prosperity to the house.
The practice of kissing under the mistletoe arose from the belief that whatever was done under the mistletoe would never become known, as that plant would seal the lips of anyone who went under it.
English maidens believe that if they do not receive at least one kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas day, they will not marry for a year.
Be sure to wish some one a merry Christmas before you put your shoes and stockings on.
Christmas decorations must be removed and cleared away, before Candlemas day, February 2d, or bad luck will follow.
To insure luck in love the mistletoe used in the Christmas festivities must be burned by the oldest unmarried member of the family.
If a leaf or berry of the Christmas decorations are found in a church pew, it is a sign that some one who sits in that pew will die during the coming year.
From a curious old song we learn that it is peculiarly unfortunate when Christmas falls on Saturday, and just the reverse when it falls on Sunday.
On Christmas night Albanians waive their idea that it is unlucky to pile wood on top of each other, and pile it as high as the safety of the house will permit, as this night neutralizes all evil influences.
To grind grain on the night before Christmas is unlucky, for the nymphs are out in all the streams, and if they find a mill going they would stop it, and break it, or else grind it with such furious force that the mill-stones would burst. (Hofberg, "Swedish Folk-Lore.")
When the heavenly host told the shepherds at Bethlehem of the birth of Christ, a deep groan was heard all through the Isles of Greece, as it denoted that great Pan, the god of the woods, was dead.
To bring good luck to a house on Christmas eve, every stranger who enters should strike the Yule log with a piece of iron, saying: "For as many sparks as fly out of thee let there be as many oxen, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, and bee-hives."
The Scandinavians have a belief that Thor and all the other gods and goddesses come to earth on Christmas night.
In Germany is a superstition that vagabond witches wander in the darkness on Christmas eve, seeking to draw the minds of the people from the sacred festival; drums are beaten to drive them away.
In Sweden if any one will go on the path leading to the church on Christmas morning at sunrise, he or she will see all the funerals that will pass that way during the next year, how the crops will grow, and what the meadows and pastures will produce; also whether or not any fires will break out within the parish.
If straw is drawn at Christmas from the roof of an inherited dwelling, taken to the barn and thrashed, and grains of corn be found in it, it betokens good luck for the coming year.
On Christmas eve in Ireland, the people hardly go to bed, and if a man hears the first cock crow, he gets a cup of tea; but if a woman hears it, she gets a cup of whiskey for luck.
The sound of church-bells will be heard at Christmas wherever a church has stood, though no vestige of its ruins remains. A city that is sunk under the sea has its church-bells ring, and if you are in a boat over the place, you can hear them ringing down below, hundreds of feet.
On Christmas eve and New Year's eve when the clock begins to strike 12, the doors, especially the front and back doors, should be opened, that the bad spirits may pass out and the good spirits come in. As soon as the clock has done striking, shut the doors to keep the good spirits in.
On Christmas day, take the first piece of bread you cut and put it away, and you will have plenty of bread in the house the whole year.
At the birth of Christ on Christmas eve, the bees are said to stir in their hives and hum a great song of praise, but one must not disturb them, for, as they are careful not to intrude upon the celebrations of mankind, so man must not interfere with their celebration of the birth of the Christ child.
Persons born on Christmas day were believed to have the power of seeing and commanding spirits.
Then in whatever direction the dogs bark, there your lover is.