For our May cover story it was definitely a challenge to fit everything into the print edition of the magazine. Thrive’s blog is a blessing because now we can expand a little more on the story and share some of the tales we weren’t able to include.
In our research for our Louisiana Myths and Legends story we found several interesting Cajun superstitions and spells. Some of them had us laughing out loud at their absurdity.
For example, one such superstition involves protecting oneself from the devil. This can be done by hanging a mirror on the porch by the door. Supposedly M’su Diable is very vain. He is so attracted to his own image that he can’t tear himself away from the spot until the sun rises over the horizon and he has to disappear.
Another one ensures good fortune and it goes something like this. Never eat both ends of a loaf of bread before the middle has been eaten. If you do, you’ll have trouble making ends meet. This was a tough one for me personally because my favorite part of the loaf of French bread just happens to be the ends.
Continuing on the food path, this is a very common one in these parts. Be sure to eat your cooked cabbage and black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. The cabbage ensure good fortune while the black eyed peas provide good health in the New Year.
An alligator under your house is a sign to be extra careful because it could be a warning of someone’s impending death. I’m having trouble getting past the thought of an alligator within 10 feet of my house, much less under it.
These next few had us chuckling.
There are many superstitions around the broom but it’s often said not to sweep anyone’s foot with a broom or you’ll be facing some extremely bad luck.
In some rural Louisiana communities it’s said if a women wants to keep her man, all she needs to do is bury his underwear in the yard and he will never leave and she should refrain from buying him shoes, otherwise she may find him walking out the door for good.
A lady should never put her purse on the floor or she’ll always be broke and she shouldn’t eat straight from the pot or she’ll never get married.
Finally, one last wild tale. If a bird finds a strand of your hair and uses it to build a nest, you’ll go crazy.
Real or not, these superstitions and myths have been passed down from generation to generation and represent a fun part of our past. They are part of what makes us who we are. The roots of these superstitions are sometimes African, Native American or Caribbean in nature. Some even come from the good ole southern United States. No matter their validity or roots, it’s fun to share them and keep them alive for generations to come.