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Family rituals and superstitions

(123 Posts)
NanKate Sat 28-Nov-20 10:37:02

Just been listening on the radio to rituals people have, often passed down from family members. Do you have any ?

We have a family whistle which has been in my family for over 150 years.

I still can’t walk under a ladder.

FannyCornforth Sat 28-Nov-20 10:40:33

Tell us more about the whistle please!
What type is it?
Who is the custodian of the whistle?

Jaxjacky Sat 28-Nov-20 11:44:48

NanKate we too have a family whistle! Not a physical whistle, but a series of whistled notes, if we, my children or GC’s are/were ever out of sight, the adult whistles and out pop the others!!
I’d forgotten about it this year, thank you for reminding me.

maytime2 Sat 28-Nov-20 11:50:05

My son was given a glass jar containing salt which has been in the family since the 1880's. The jar was given to my great grandmother on her marriage as it was considered lucky to be given salt when starting up in your first home.

PollyDolly Sat 28-Nov-20 11:58:07

I don't have a particular object handed down through the family. However, my mum never pegged out bed linen or babies terry nappies on New Years Day. My siblings and I have followed this tradition and I personally don't peg out any washing if I know there's a funeral on our street.

Ashcombe Sat 28-Nov-20 12:00:50

My mother used to drape towels over mirrors during thunderstorms. I never understood why.

Kseniya Sat 28-Nov-20 12:16:23

the most standard Christmas with gifts for the whole family.
it can be a little strange, in another city my relatives have a tradition - to go to the bathhouse on Saturdays (of course they also take a shower)

NanKate Sat 28-Nov-20 12:31:40

Fanny it is a whistled sound of a few notes just like Jax’s one. It is 6 notes and I use it in a shop when DH can’t find me or the DGSs. My sister and her family who live in Italy use it too. My DGSs can’t whistle properly yet but sing the sound when they want to find us.

Ashcombe my gran did the same. She said the mirrors would crack and it would be bad luck, so they were covered over. She used to turn over the silver (cutlery not real stuff) at the full moon.

Georgesgran Sat 28-Nov-20 20:26:04

I find my purse and turn it over when there’s a new moon. It’s supposed to bring good luck.

BBbevan Sat 28-Nov-20 20:38:11

We have a family whistle also. I once lost DH in Sainsbury's so I whistled. Four men appeared beside me

PollyDolly Sat 28-Nov-20 20:47:18


We have a family whistle also. I once lost DH in Sainsbury's so I whistled. Four men appeared beside me

😂😂😂 Were they on a special buy promotion?

BlueSky Sat 28-Nov-20 20:49:07

BBbevan did your DH appear? grin

Lolo81 Sat 28-Nov-20 22:37:46

Another one here with a family whistle tone! It’s now on its fifth generation and has been a lifesaver with my children when they were small as both could whistle by their 2nd birthdays. Convenient hearing would strike when calling their names, but they loved the whistling and would come running! Gosh I’m sat here with tears in my eyes and a big lump in my throat remembering my Papa whistling for me as a child. Thank you so much for this thread

ixion Sat 28-Nov-20 22:43:57

We had a family 5 note whistle too!

My mother's superstition was that malt and cod liver oil was good for you🤷‍♀️...dreadful stuff!

NotSpaghetti Sat 28-Nov-20 23:57:33

My family turned over coins on a new moon.

Also, wear something new on Easter Sunday (even if only socks).

paddyanne Sun 29-Nov-20 01:32:16

I have a little bag with a piece of coal and some salt in it that my late dad first footed us with...along with the whisky and black bun and my OH takes it out every hogmanay and stands outside until midnight and first foots us with it every year .this is year 46.I keep it safe in between Hogmanays in a locked drawer

FannyCornforth Sun 29-Nov-20 05:36:14

Oh! shockIt's not an actual physical whistle!
I'm so intrigued! I'd love to hear everyone's family whistles.
If only I were a Radio 4 commissioner...

FannyCornforth Sun 29-Nov-20 05:36:57


We have a family whistle also. I once lost DH in Sainsbury's so I whistled. Four men appeared beside me

That's hilarious grin

GrandmasueUK Sun 29-Nov-20 06:04:13

We couldn't put new shoes on a table and weren't allowed to cut nails on a
Friday. I still don't do either of these.

GrandmasueUK Sun 29-Nov-20 06:07:36

Oh and my mum wouldn't have red and white flowers in the same vase. She said because they were supposed to represent blood and bandages!

Loislovesstewie Sun 29-Nov-20 06:08:59

If we are talking superstitions we have a whole litany of them; don't wear green to a wedding (v,v unlucky), don't have pearls or opals as engagement ring (ditto), if I put an item of clothing on inside out that is how it stays, I can discard it but not turn it inside out and wear it, don't stir with a knife, it stirs up strife, don't look at the new moon through glass. In fact looking back most things were unlucky! There were thousands more.

FannyCornforth Sun 29-Nov-20 06:28:37

The opal bad luck thing is because it would often fall out of its setting.
Opal has a very high water content and can shrink, resulting in it falling out.
That's one theory anyway.

grandMattie Sun 29-Nov-20 06:48:33

I recently gave DD Pearl and turquoise earrings which had been my mother’s grandmother - passed from DD to DD.
One lovey custom is to plant a tree for rites of passage- births, weddings, anniversaries, deaths... I remember the “ Golden Wedding” tree which had been my great grandparents’, planted in 1909! we did the same for us and our children. I hope these trees are still around.

BlueBelle Sun 29-Nov-20 07:09:30

ashcombe my Nan did that too the mirror and towel thing it was because she believed the lightening if reflected in the mirror could set fire to the room

I m afraid we don’t have any whistles or superstitions I can think of passed down (I do have my grandads police whistle from the Great War) none of my children or grandkids are at all interested in passed down things all the bits of history will die with me I have two boxes of family history and out of ten children and grandchildren none seem interested in the past my eldest has promised she won’t throw it out but I expect it will just go in the loft

My Nan wouldn’t have the red and white flowers either grandmasue for the same reason neither would she use a phone nor have a tv arial on the roof all connected with her dreadful fear of thunderstorms which thankfully I haven’t passed down 🤞🏼

cornergran Sun 29-Nov-20 07:17:01

No new shoes in the table when I was growing up. Always something new to wear at Easter, Christmas too. I still stick with the Christmas thing, usually a new sweater these days, this years is ready and waiting.