Celtic Folklore: Go Tell the Bees!



“May your pockets be heavy, and your heart be light; may good luck pursue you each day and night.”

Aye, the luck of the Irish to you!  A required sentiment to family, friends, and strangers, in hopes fortune is on your side.  Even if your bloodline lacks even one percent of Irishness, you most likely recognize well-established superstitions from the pastoral Emerald Isle.  Not accurately perceived as ol’ wives’ tales, the Irish and perhaps you, too, believe in these tidbits of superstition just as much as prophecy!

Handing over a Knife or ScissorsThere’s often a loophole to a bad omen.  In the case of preventing a cut or a damaged relationship from occurring, you can receive a dime in return.

Utensils Falling on the FloorA knife falling off the table is likely to inspire a gentleman visitor.  If it is a fork, a lady is bound to arrive.  The spoon, on the other hand, represents meeting a child.  And, the best part is, if numerous utensils happen to slip from your hands, then expect a flood of party-goers!

The Red-Haired MaidenGranted, 10 percent of the population of Ireland has the gene of a natural redhead; however, there are several involving the ginger maiden:

  • If the first woman you meet is a ginger, superstition says, “You’ll have bad fortune all day long!”
  • Seeing a red-haired lass at the market also implies you are unlikely to make money.

An Itchy NoseSadly, an argument is on the horizon!

An Itchy PalmThe positive is in your left hand, which implies a windfall of money; however, on the right side, expect a bill arriving soon!

Clothes Inside OutEmbarrassing as it may be, an article of clothing worn the wrong way is a good sign! Unfortunately, righting a wrong leads to bad fortune.

Etiquette at Meals:  Only stir your tea or coffee counter-clockwise, and refrain from taking the last slice of bread.  Bad luck and the threat of being an old maid or a bachelor is the outcome if this belief is challenged.

Broken GlassYes, glass windshields, drinking containers, and other items do break; moreover, seven years is the timeline for regenerating yourself into a whole person again.

Do Not Upset the Wind:  The wind has a vindictive side.  Should a child not listen to his or her mother, the wind may change course and reap havoc.

The Magpie: For identification purposes, the bird possesses a black head and tail, and is accented with white on its belly, wings, and back.  Once seen, you must recall the rhyme, “One for sorrow, twofor joy.  Three for a girl and four for a boy.  Five for silver and six for gold.  Seven for asecret, never to be told.”   The more of these birds you see, the chance of luck grows; however, one lone magpie requires either a wave or salute!

Tell the Bees the News:  Bees are a symbol of good luck and prosperity.  The Celtic custom states that the goodwife of the home gently knocks, sometimes with the housekey, on each hive to obtain the bee’s attention, and share events, such as the departure and return of the household, or messages to the spirit world.  Brides and grooms and newborns visit the colony to offer introductions in hope of blessings.  During death, the hive receives a shroud of black cloth and an invitation to the funeral.  Food and wine rest near the entrance in tribute to the winged flyers.  Disrespecting the bees results in the fear that the luck will fly away or die.

With a potential curse awaiting every step, Irish folklore offers many recommendations.  Start your day by tossing a handful of salt over your left shoulder, or holding a holy object, such as a cross, a vial of water, or a saint’s medal, all of which works just as well as a Shamrock or rabbit’s foot.  “May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love.”


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