Superstitions make humans do crazy things. From the number 13 to breaking mirrors and the groom seeing the bride too early, there are several oddities that continue to stand the test of time despite no real evidence in their favour. However, where you currently reside has a big impact on the kind of day-to-day superstitions you see – and we’re going to look at one very specific region.
The UK, despite what some may say, is full of superstitions.These date back hundreds if not thousands of years, with today’s grandparents still insisting that something needs to be done in a certain way “just, because”. As Brits might not be thought of as big supernatural believers and the like, we thought we’d take a look at the top 5 UK superstitions to give you an idea. Ready? Let’s go!
Walking Under Ladders
If you live in Blighty, or even visit for any length of time, you’ll probably see a ladder on a street. The British are keen to keep their houses and buildings in tip-top condition, and that means a lot of workers climbing around windows, rooftops and walls. What you will almost certainly not see, however, is a pedestrian walking underneath said ladders.
According to HowStuffWorks, many Christians associate ladders up against walls as a triangle – representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Walking underneath effectively breaks that symbol and in extreme circumstances is seen as blasphemous. As the United Kingdom is a predominantly Christian country, this theory is more than plausible..
On the other hand, HowStuffWorks makes the very valid point that it’s an unnecessary risk. Someone is presumably using the ladder, so anything heavy may well be dropped within the vicinity. Furthermore, a misplaced step could see you bring the ladder down by accident – so it’s best to steer well clear.
The Gambler’s Fallacy
Not strictly related to gambling per se, the gambler’s fallacy is the belief that if something happens a lot during a specific period of time then it won’t happen as much in future.
We’ll use roulette as an example.
Image you’ve just sat down at a roulette table with a nice refreshing cocktail and you check to see the recent results. The last four spins have resulted in a black number being recorded.
What do you bet?
Anyone believing in the gambler’s fallacy will think that the next number is more likelyto be red – even though the probability remains the same for each spin. Of course, red may very well appear – but the trap that people fall into is a belief that the wheel has correctedits recent bias in favour of the other.
No mathematical evidence exists for this, whatsoever.
More Gambling Superstitions
As the gambler’s fallacy is particularly interesting, we’re going to take a look at similar casino rituals. There’s an absolute truckload of strange habits that people undertake as the wheel is spinning, cards are being dealt or reels are turning – and the UK is no different. Here are a few of the classics:
- Crossing fingers: Okay, not exclusively gambling related, but something you’ll often find once a bet has been placed is people crossing their fingers. Why? That’s a whole other subject.
- Leaving the table or looking away: Can’t bear to watch the drama unfold? You’re not alone. If a particularly crucial round is about to take place, many punters avert their gaze until it’s all over and the result is before them.
- Lucky numbers/cards/games: An obvious one, but all kinds of gamblers have lucky numbers on roulette, a preferred slot machine and a favourite hand in poker (obviously there’s someelement of skill for the latter).
It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing at a UK online casino or have walked into your local brick-and-mortar, these superstitions still get the better of us – even though they have no impact whatsoever on the outcome. Yet, that doesn’t mean to say they always costus money rather than winus money…
Blowing Out Birthday Candles
You’ve all heard of this one, right?When the cake’s all set with candles lit, you have one attempt to blow them all out. If not, it’s considered bad luck.
Is this bringing back any memories of tears?Children can be beside themselves if they don’t manage it, forcing parents to insist it was a “practice” round before adding their own bit of wind to ensure it happens the second time.
One viral video in summer 2016 said we shouldn’t even be blowing out birthday candles in the first place as it spreads germs… You know, he probably has a point!
Black Cats – Lucky or Unlucky…?
Just to confuse you with our final superstition, a black cat walking across your path can be both lucky and unlucky depending on your location. In the UK, though, it’s generally considered to be a good omen rather than bad. It seems this is linked all the way back to Charles the first who considered his black feline friend to be a source of luck. The day after his beloved pet died, he was arrested and charged with high treason, according to the Sun. That’s pretty unfortunate, to be fair!
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