Salty Superstitions (c) Atham Z 2003-7. Update 2007-06-13

Salty Superstitions
Atham-Z 2003-7

We have all heard of the bad luck associated with spilling salt, and how subsequently throwing a pinch over one's left shoulder should allay whatever misfortune.

This belief has roots in biblical times when salt was a necessary and hard to come by commodity! The throwing gesture showed respect for one's bounty for having salt in the first place. Apparently evil spirits are supposed to lurk on one's left or "sinister" side, and that is the reasoning for the instruction about body side. Babies are also sometimes presented with a small packet of salt, to ensure that they want for nothing in life. A happy side effect from this gift is protection from witches because whatever bad spirit supposedly has to count every grain of salt in the packet before it can work any harm. The child should grow to be less vulnerable long before there is time to accomplish any mischief. Wearing a small bit of salt on one's person, ensures that deals will be successful. Carrying a pinch in your hand at night protects you in the dark.

"Help me to salt, help me to sorrow."

You can wish a person bad luck if you take on the task of salting their meal for them. Even offering salt to another may bring misfortune.

Knocking over a salt shaker indicates a friendship is about to be broken, because salt signifies the lasting quality of friendship. To ward off evil when moving into a new house, sprinkle the steps with salt or make sure that salt is the first item that moves in.

Some feel that every grain of spilt salt means a day of sorrow. You can avoid those tears by picking up every grain and throwing them over your kitchen stove. The cooking heat will dry the tears!

Salt has also been used for divination. Leaving a small pile on the table at night results in a message on the morrow. In the morning if the pile is unchanged the future looks good, but if some salt should have melted, it is an omen of death.

And if you know any adolescent girls ... , if she forgets to set the salt seller when laying the table, she is no longer a virgin! Now that is sure one salty secret to hold!


This page was created November 7, 2003 and updated 2007-06-13.