“Stop that whistling, no whistling in the house” I was just about to tell my son, then I caught myself. “Why is that,” I thought, “Why do we say that it is bad luck/bad manners to whistle in the house? “ I know when I was growing up that my great-grandmother told me not to, and my grandmother told me not to, and of course, my mother, in turn, said the same thing. “But why?” I used to ask them about that, but I have never received a proper answer. Come to think about it, I have never received any answer whatsoever. Hmm…
When I hear my son whistling, my spirits lift, because I know that he is in a good mood, and he is not really a bad whistler at all – his “tunes” fill the house, just like when I hear my daughter singing some made up song. So why should I stop him from whistling, when it is his way of expressing his particular happiness this morning? I decided to take a look on the great “Tome of Knowledge, “ (the Internet) to see what it had to say about this whistling thing.
After looking around and changing my search a few times, it surprised me to find that I was not alone in my quest. There are quite a few people out there like me (thousands and thousands actually) that were wondering the same thing. And from what I found, this whistling in the house ban looks like it has a lot of its background all the way from old Russia. Yes, in the old Soviet Union, this is a popular superstition. I am not sure how we got it here in Belize, much less how it turned into a thing of bad manners, but we have it, and here I am trying to pass it on to my son.
Actually, as I looked around, I discovered that many of the superstitions we have in Belize are not at all uniquely Belizean. What happens if your eye has a twitch? What if it is your left? Or your right? What does it mean when your left palm itches? Or your right? What about the bottom of your feet? I have heard these things for years, but societies all over the world have pretty much a meaning to each. Some may have the results reversed, but for the most part, they are all on par with us here in Belize.
What happens when a picture of a person falls from the wall? Can a pregnant woman really pass by a snake without being bitten? Will a child born with “caul” really be spiritually gifted? Can we open that umbrella in the house? Was I really responsible for stunting the growth of my cousin when I walked over her feet when she was little? (Strange, now she is taller than me!) And finally, will that upside-down broom behind the door really make those unwanted or long-staying visitors leave?
What about you? Do you all have any superstitions that I should know about? I want to know, so I can make sure that all my children get to hear about them. Leave your comments!