Cultural tradition versus superstition

February 22, 2022

Cultural beliefs or superstitions? Well, oftentimes they’re both. Some may be connected to ethnicity and people’s ancestry by picking up a superstition from another person or culture; for example, the evil eye.

The evil eye has turned into a piece of jewelry to some people, but it stems from multiple different cultures including Roman, Jewish, Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist and many others. Although all of these heritages are diverse, they use the evil eye in similar ways. It was seen to bring misfortune to those who saw or broke it by those who believed in the superstition.

Now, the evil eye has different perceptions considering some believe it is seen to bring luck to those who wear it, have it gifted to them or have it in their homes. Others believe it to be a curse and bring sudden illness and misfortune to those who are presented to it. Junior Amelia Giuffre sees the evil eye in a more positive form.

“For me, the purpose of the evil eye is to ward off jealousy and evil,” Giuffre said.

Everyone is aware of the luck of the Irish, but many Irish families believe in old, not so lucky superstitions. Sophomore Sara Ryan is not the most superstitious person, but when she watches it happen up close and personal, it is impossible for her not to believe it, for example, death in threes.

“I checked on my grandma and she was crying; she was upset about being all alone, two of her family members had died within the span of a week and she had just gotten a call about a third passing,” Ryan said.

For Ryan, it was normal to witness multiple deaths in the span of a few weeks because of the superstition she had around her growing up.

“Whenever someone told me that they had a person in their family die I would ask if anyone else had died and they would get confused. I always thought death happened in groups and not just one person,” Ryan said.

Ethnic superstitions are even researched in classes here at DGS. In the Spanish 3 classes, there is a unit on superstitions in Spanish speaking households. World Languages Department Chair and Spanish 3 teacher Tara Basar teaches her students about superstitions during first semester.

“There are pretty short and small superstitions like under or by entryways or in windows you may find a cactus because they believe that cacti repel evil spirits. Also, there are larger ones that leak into the difference between superstitions and legends,” Basar said.

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